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.
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.
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.