birdwatcher

Posted by on August 25, 2014 in applesauce | 2 comments

Well, hello! I think I’m back, I hope there are still a few readers left out there!

I thought I’d return with a quick app recommendation. The last few months I’ve spent quite a lot of time sitting on my porch. I wasn’t feeling too well earlier this year, and then I had a minor surgery to fix the problem (it’s all very boring and frankly, TMI for the Internet), and so then I spent my recovery time sitting and reading or knitting and watching all the birds in our yard. I started noticing a lot of different birds that I hadn’t seen before, and wished I had an easy way to identify them.

The Cornell Lab of Orinthology is such a great source for all things bird-related, and it turns out they just released a Bird ID app called Merlin. You just answer a few questions, and it returns a list of possibilities that includes multiple photos of each bird as well as recordings of their songs. So now I can sit on my porch, see a bird, open the app and find out just what it is in seconds.

Earlier this spring I found a beautiful, but sadly dead, little bird in the chicken pen. I had never seen anything like it before. Using the app, I’ve now learned that it’s a male Bullock’s Oriole, and that it was probably in the area for breeding season.

Photo Apr 19, 11 02 19 AM

Photo Aug 15, 11 02 42 AM  Photo Aug 15, 11 02 54 AM

By identifying the birds that you see, information is added to the lab’s database. The app doesn’t save the birds you find, which I found unfortunate, but you can send comments to the developers, and when I sent a message requesting the ability to do just that they were quick to reply that they have many such improvements planned for the near future.

I never thought of myself as a bird watcher, but I may have started researching binoculars for viewing birds.

Some related links:

2 Comments

  1. Hello – it’s been a very long time since I visited. Hello!

  2. I’m glad to hear from you. Sometimes it’s good to just sit back and watch the birdies. Your blog is very mellow – a good place to hang out.

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