Evaluation of Audubon’s Cell Phone App

 

Gila Woodpecker

Gila Woodpecker

Last summer I was looking for a birding App to add to my cell phone and opted for Audubon Birds. Originally I was considering “Sibley eGuide to Birds”, but after reading some product reviews went with “The Online Guide to North American Birds “called “Audubon Birds”. This application contains 770 North American species sorted into 22 Orders and 74 Families.

White-faced Ibis

White-faced Ibis

After having used it for the past year I am truly impressed by the content and completeness of the application. For each species it has several photos usually in breeding and non-breeding plumage, male and female as well as adult and juvenile, at least one range map and in some cases two, a recording of its song and calls, a description of the bird and a similar species selection.  You can search by shape, name, family or advanced search. Also after registering your account you can submit sightings and build a Life List.

Cactus Wren

Cactus Wren

At the very beginning I was somewhat unsure as how this would work, but like anything else it takes practice and patience. Where this really came in handy was on a recent trip to Baja Mexico in December. I had never been to this part of Mexico, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Most of my birding was done in a fresh water estuary where there were many familiar species including Blue and Green Wing Teal, Lesser Scaup, American Coot and Pied Billed Grebe. However, in this wetland environment there were many “Life List” birds that I discovered including Gila Woodpecker, Cactus Wren, Verdin, Black Pheobe and two species of Egret: Great and Snowy. Without having the Audubon Birds app on my cell phone, I would have been severely handicapped in making a positive identification. For instance, there was a flock of 10 dark colored Ibises which could have been Glossy or White Faced, with a sort by the family, “Ibises and Spoonbills” it was possible to quickly confirm that what I was seeing could only be the White Faced Ibis. If you were to compare this using the 480 page “National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America” which isn’t exactly a pocket guide, it is very cumbersome and time consuming. Time isn’t a luxury you have in the field trying to identify a strange bird. In most cases I was able to photograph the bird and could use it to make a comprehensive identification. On another occasion I was viewing a Plover, not in its breeding plumage. So if you do a search by Plover family you can quickly eliminate most of the plovers and narrow it down to one or two possibilities. By observing the characteristics of the bird in non-breeding plumage I was able to establish that it was a Semipalmated Plover.

My cost to acquire this application was the handsome sum of $.99. You simply can’t go wrong and if it doesn’t suit your needs then you haven’t spent a fortune. This is a big “Thumbs Up” which I highly recommend, you will soon arrive at the position that I have taken, no more books in the field, they belong in one’s reference library

To find out more about bird watching go to Bird Watching and Nature Adventure tour.

About Greg Byron

Greg Byron, orginally from Montreal, now resides in the South Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada's only desert. He operates an Ecotourism business, Great Horned Owl Eco Tours, www.okanaganecotours.com and focusses on bird watching and nature adventure tours. In order to deliver unique and experiential tours greg has have become very driven to understand all of the plants and animals which reside in the Okanagan along with Natural History, geology and issues surrounding water sustainability and climate change. Another gem about the Okanagan that isn't too well known is bird watching; with over 300 species the Okanagan is one of the premiere bird watching areas in all of Canada. As an avid birdwatcher, when guests go on his bird watching tour one of his goals is to find for them a "Life Bird". In Greg's backyard can be found 10% of Canada's endangered species including: Williamson's Sapsuckers, Lark Sparrows, White Headed Woodpeckers, Yellow Breasted Chats and Western Screech Owls. Check out my photostream on Flickr
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7 Responses to Evaluation of Audubon’s Cell Phone App

  1. Greetings I am so excited I found your blog, I really found you by mistake, while I was searching on Aol for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say thanks for a tremendous post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to
    browse it all at the minute but I have saved it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I
    have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the awesome work.

  2. Greg Byron says:

    Hi

    I’m not sure what you are referring to, all of my posts are developed using Word and hence everything is spell checked. Spell check doesn’t like “Semipalmated” plover, yet that is the correct spelling. Many bird species do get flagged in a similar fashion yet they are correct.

    Greg

  3. MY SITE says:

    of course like your web-site however you have to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts.

    A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very troublesome to tell
    the truth on the other hand I will certainly come again again.

  4. Greg Byron says:

    Hi Gord I am on Android and purchased the App more than a year ago, so the old price of $.99 may not be available. Even at $9.99 I find that this is good value, when looking at Sibley’s which was $30 and of lesser quality.

    Greg

  5. Greg Byron says:

    Hi Gord

    If you will send your pictures along to me I will try to id them for you.

  6. GordN says:

    P.S. $.99? I can only find a $9.99 version.
    Are you Android or Apple?

  7. GordN says:

    Can you help me id the birds I took pictures of in Baja this April?
    Gord

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