Whenever I plan to go birding, I bring along at least one field guide to help me identify the birds I might see. Sometimes, I’ll also bring along a Birding checklist or Journal in which to record the birds I might see that day. Of course, there are binoculars and a camera, perhaps a scope and a tripod… Sometimes, I start to think that it’s more about the gear than the birds. That’s why I’m excited about the new iPhone App from National Geographic.
They have just released National Geographic Birds: Field Guide to North America for just $9.99. If you’ve purchased a hardcover or even a paperback field guide recently, you already know that’s a great deal. This particular app, however, isn’t just a field guide. Sure it has the comprehensive field identification illustrations and notes that you’d expect from National Geographic, but it also allows users to mark the locations at which they sighted particular bird species and add notes about the sighting. That eliminates the need for the journal as well as the hard copy field guide. The app even lets you share these sighting maps and notes with others so they can visit the same places to see rarities.
While I generally don’t recommend using electronic devices to call birds with imitated vocalizations, the app also has a full repertoire of bird song audio files. You can use these with ear buds to help identify songs you hear in the field, or use them at home to learn the songs and calls of the bird species in your region.
With the National Geographic Birds: Field Guide to North America iPhone App, you not only eliminate two heavy books from your field equipment, but you get additional features that the books simply can’t match.
If the birds don’t show on your next expedition, you can always use the time to increase your expertise with the app’s included identification quiz feature. With over 955 listed species and 700 bird song audio files, there’s plenty to keep you busy while waiting.
The guide includes a detailed listing of similar species to help confirm the species you think you’ve spotted, as well as a search function to help you locate likely matches for birds you don’t immediately recognize.
Available now in the iPhone App Store, National Geographic Birds: A Field Guide to North America is a great gift for your favorite birding enthusiast –or for yourself.