Sunday, December 26, 2010

Birding Apps

Red Tail Hawk, Arkansas Delta
Prairie Falcon, NE Montana
Today is the day of the annual Christmas Day bird count and we thought it would be a good time to review some of the iphone and ipad apps that we use.
Our favorite right now is the ibird PRO.  It incorporates several useful tools that a experienced or novice birder will appreciate. There are separate features for pictures, photos, calls, flickr, family, notes, ecology (population status-if you are a fan of Gentleman Bob, skip this section).  The feature that sets it apart from the others we have tried  is a search section. We also have the Audubon app.  It has great official photos and  an advanced search that is not quite as detailed as ibird, but easier to use.  The third app we use is BirdsEye. It is somewhat easier to use and also has great photos but it has nowhere near the features of ibird. 
Most outdoor people are either avid or casual birders. For casual birders like campers, hikers, and deer hunters, these apps are great.  Pull your phone out, pull up the app and identify the Ruby Crowned Kinglet right before your eyes. Use the call features and find out what bird is making that funky sounding call. Also now is the best time to purchase these apps as they are all on sale, some as much as fifty percent off.  Our Christmas gifted Audubon app will be arriving any day now from Cyberspace ! 
Whether you carry a gun, binoculars, fly rod or camera these are great tools! If you have a program you like, let us know.   We are always looking for something better. Identifying hawks is our biggest challenge. We struggled most of  Christmas Day afternoon trying to identify a really neat looking Red Tail (known as a Chicken Hawk to Foghorn Leghorn).  Any tips anyone uses on them would be great.  Happy Birding!

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