Birding with an iPad, and a Giveaway!

More birders are now using technology such as tablets and smartphones, and there are many bird-related apps which can help ID birds in the field, submit checklists (eBird), and more. In this post I’m going to round up some useful bird apps, including my favorites.

Stay tuned until the end of this post for the giveaway details!

AppscollageField Guides:

Many field guides have been made into apps, which makes going birding much easier because you don’t have to lug around heavy books. In fact, with a smartphone or tablet, you can take an entire bookshelf with you. Most of the major field guides are available as apps and most offer multiple audio files for almost every species; the search function makes it very easy to search for birds. I have most of the following apps on my iPad, many of which are compatible on other iSO devices even Android.

— Sibley eGuide to Birds of North America ($19.99); I’m a fan of David Sibley’s illustrations, so of course the app is my favorite too. One of the features offered in this guide is the side-by-side comparisons for difficult to ID species. There is also a”lite” version which is free, which is a good way to see if you want to buy the full app.

— Audubon Birds ($14.99, often on sale); is a photographic guide, so if you are partial to photos vs. drawings, this may be for you. With the Audubon app you are able to submit checklists though the app to eBird and see what other birders have submitted.

— Peterson Birds of North America ($9.99, often on sale)

— National Geographic Birds of North America ($9.99); I don’t own this guide so I’m not very familiar with it. But from reading others’ reviews it seems to be a very good app and features 995 species and custom-created quizzes.

iBird (“lite” version is free, various full versions range in price); The iBird app is very user-friendly and great for new birders. iBird has guides for North America, and also Britain & Ireland.

BirdGuides (“lite” version is free, various full versions range in price); BirdGuides have UK field guide apps and also one Birds of Brasil app with over 1,800 species.

Apps for Learning Bird Song:

Larkwire ($2.99); a very user-friendly app which uses games to make learning bird songs fun. Larkwire groups together similar-sounding species and gives the listener a better chance to familiarize him/herself with the songs and calls of each species.

Bird Finding/Reporting Apps:

The BirdsEye app is for finding birds reported to eBird, and BirdsEye Log is for submitting your own sightings. They’re very good apps, and when I was in Ontario last summer working at Long Point, they worked very well for me. My only complaint is that the apps can’t find my location here in Alberta. I get a message saying “Low GPS Signal”. I don’t live in the complete middle of nowhere and we have good WiFi, so I’m a little disappointed that I can’t use these apps regularly at home.

BirdsEye (full versions range in price)

BirdEye Log ($9.99)

BirdsEye Hotspots ($4.99); BirdsEye Hotspots is another great app, which quickly finds eBird hotspots. Here is my review of the app. As a reminder, I received this app from Drew Weber at BirdsEye (who also writes at Nemesis Bird).

Birding eBooks:

Princeton University Press has recently made some of its most popular birding books available as eBooks on iTunes:

The Warbler Guide by Tom Stephenson & Scott Whittle ($18.99)

The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds by Richard Crossley ($19.99)

The World’s Rarest Birds by Erik Hirschfeld, Andy Swash and Robert Still ($27.99)

The Unfeathered Bird by Katrina van Grouw ($29.99)

Hawks at a Distance by Jerry Liguori ($12.99)

Birds of Peru by Thomas S. Schulenberg ($27.99)

Other Bird Apps:

Merlin Bird ID (free); the Merlin Bird ID app from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is one of the newest birding apps on the market. Very good for beginning and intermediate birders.

Bird Codes (0.99); lists numerous bird banding codes

If I haven’t mentioned your favorite app, please let me know in the comments and I’ll add it to my list.

*  *  *  *  *  *


Jessica at Princeton University Press has been very generous in providing me with eBook copies of The Unfeathered Bird and the very new Ten Thousand Birds to give away. To enter the contest, just leave a comment in this post with the name of which of the two ebooks you’d prefer.

For second entry, head over to my Facebook page and “Like” it. lease mention below in your comment that you’ve done so. After two random draws, I’ll announce the winners on February 22nd.

TheUnfeatheredBird TenThousandBirds

31 thoughts on “Birding with an iPad, and a Giveaway!

  1. Nice post :) The unfeathered bird is an amazing book, I was at the British Bird Fair in August last year and was at the stand Katrina had for her book, gutted I couldn’t afford a signed copy there.
    Have also like the facebook page!

  2. I have most of the apps you mentioned on my iPhone and iPad. As you mentioned, some of them don’t work very well in Alberta, or at least in the small town where I live (Cardston.) I probably use the Audubon Birds app the most. I haven’t seen “The Unfeathered Bird” yet but it is one I would like to own. Have “liked your FB page.

  3. Found this post after trying to learn my about my brother’s profession. He is an ornithologist in NJ currently doing research on the oil spill in the Gulf and its effects on birds/mammals. My sister in law is a biologist studying piping plovers for the DEP in NJ. I really don’t know much about birds but my brother and SIL’s passion have slowly migrated (get it, migrated) to me. I really want to learn more so I can have conversations with him and his friends (all birders) about what they do and see. Birding has been his true love since he was 6 years old and he is now 36 so its about time for me to start. I love my iPad so I thought there would be a much greater chance I would read any ‘bird book’ from cover to cover if it were on my iPad since I take it everywhere with me. I would love to read Ten Thousand Birds since it seems more like something I would actually enjoy reading for fun as well as for the learning aspect (whereas The Unfeathered Bird seems more scientific which is far from what my background is which is law). I am heading over to your Facebook page now and liking it. Thanks for the chance.

  4. I have really gotten into the study of birds. I would live to have either book, but I think Ten Thousand Birds sounds very intriguing & would love to read it.

  5. Thanks for your blog! These two books are great, but I’d like to have “Ten Thousand Birds”. I have in my iPad and iPhone most of the apps in your review; but I’d like to have more of those for Europe, especially Southern Europe!

  6. I think the Unfeathered Bird, as I like to paint birds (pictures of birds, not paint actual birds) and learning more about the structure can only help. Also liked you on FB!
    Of all the field guide apps, Sibley is my fav. Also use Bird Log although I’m more careful in areas with spotty cell coverage after losing several outings on a trip to remote parts of AZ (the trips aren’t saved locally, so a phone restart is a problem!) Birds Eye is fun for trip planning.

  7. both interesting reads I am sure . . . but The Unfeathered Bird looks fascinating to me, learning about the creatures from the inside out. They truly are modern day dinosaurs in a pretty feathered package. Liked the facebook group too.

  8. awesome! I think I may be purchasing larkwire if it’s available for windows phone… I’d have to say the unfeathered bird looks pretty awesome. I’m all for adventure-history as a medium but I can’t pass up those amazing pictures! This would be a fun reference for bird drawings.

  9. Pingback: Birding eBooks Giveaway Reminder! | Prairie Birder

  10. Hope it’s not too late to enter your contests! I was pleased to stumble on to your blog tonight. My 11 year old homeschooled son has been a birder since he was about 4 and I know he would love the book Ten Thousand Birds. I have been trying to encourage him to start a blog as well, as a way of sharing his love of birds (and also, frankly, to get him to do some actual writing on a topic he already enjoys!), so I am looking forward to showing him yours in the morning. You’ve done a great job of it. (Also liked your FB page.)

  11. Pingback: Birding eBook Winners! | Prairie Birder

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s