Best Smartphone Apps for Birdwatchers
Smartphones have made lives easier and better for almost every industry, from pilots to artists, but one group of hobbyists that have really benefited from smartphones is birdwatchers (also known as birders).
Birders and nature lovers in general are now able to do and learn so much with vast knowledge at their fingertips. If you’re a birdwatcher or outdoor enthusiast, here are some of the best smartphone apps for birders.
Audubon Birds Pro
Before the smartphone birders had to carry enormous field guides—sometimes several—along with other equipment like cameras and binoculars. Thanks to the Audubon Birds Pro app, birders can shed the weight of their physical guides and have a searchable database of birds instantly. This app gives you multiple photographs of birds, their birdsong, and a strong search box.
Audubon is also the only app that gives you access to eBird, which allows you to report and find birds in your area. That itself makes Audubon Birds Pro likes two apps in one. This app was also favorably written about in the New York Times.
The major downside to the app is its price and how much storage it uses. It typically goes on sale, but the regular price is $14.99. Also, it can take nearly a GB of storage on your device. Still, for everything it does and the price of field guides, the app is definitely worth it.
Although being able to identify birds by sight is key to becoming a great birder, being able to identify birds by sound is equally important because you don’t always see the bird. For learning bird songs by ear, Larkwire is the best app. Larkwire has native apps for the iPhone and iPad, but it also has a web-based app that works with most smartphones and tablets.
The Larkwire app is basically the Rosetta Stone for birdsongs and teaches you songs in different ways. After using this for only a few weeks, I was able to easily identify a range of birds. It’s a must-have when learning to bird by ear.
Sometimes finding birds is half the battle, and that’s where BirdsEye comes in. If you want to see a particular species, BirdsEye will show you where it was last seen and can even give you thorough directions for finding it. The great part about this app, and all these apps really, is that they’re great for both beginner and experienced birdwatchers.
It’ll also give you tips and tricks on how to find the species once you’re in the area by teaching you about their behavior. A great way to birdwatch is to go out and explore, but this app makes it possible to find those birds you’re searching for.
Sibley eGuide Birds to North America
There’s already a bird guide on this list, but some old birding advice says you should always have at least two guides to help cross-reference and better identify birds. Sibley eGuide is the perfect complement to Audubon Birds Pro. Sibley’s original field guide is much beloved among birders and the digital version is very similar to the physical one. It has more than 6,000 images of birds in different poses, which helps identify moving birds, and a lot of great maps and descriptions.
This guide is also a little pricey at $19.99, but it’s by far the best guide for identifying birds while out in the field.
Finally, one of the reasons why many people go birding (aside from the love of nature and birds) is to observe as many different species as possible. Birdwatcher’s Diary helps you keep track of all the birds you’ve seen. This is a pretty powerful bird list tracker and its filtering makes it easy to do “Big Years” and “Big Days” which are personal events where birders count as many species as possible in certain amounts of time.
Overall, this app is the best way to keep track of all the birds you’ve seen over your lifetime.