Our August 2016 Resource of the Month explores diversity and variation in the great outdoors. Audubon Guides, in collaboration with the National Audubon Society, has created an amazing virtual library of user-friendly birding information – more than 3,150 images, maps, and bird calls in a fact-filled digital guide. The free app can be downloaded to iPhones, iPads, and iPods, Android phones and tablets, Kindle Fire tablets, HP Touchpads, and NOOK tablets. And, as you’ll see below, this birding app even has a lot in common with Pokémon Go!
Access information about the Audubon Birds app through http://www.audubonguides.com/field-guides/bird-identification-app.html. Clicking on “Audubon Birds App Trailer” opens a brief YouTube video complete with melodramatic music and critics’ reviews (e.g., “an invaluable … tool for North American bird-watchers – PC World”). The app’s multiple stunning images of birds, many accompanied by audio (over eight hours of calls/songs!), and facts about behavior, range, nesting, and sightings will soon be: “Coming to a device near you.”
Students (and teachers) can narrow their search for birds by state/province and month, or focus on birds that are common, or rare, to a specific location. Sort birds by their common or scientific names, or by song/call types and patterns, habitats, wing shapes, shape, or size. Each of the 771+ avian species appears in several images, which can be enlarged to view the fine details. A “journal” feature lets users record their own sightings and share them with friends via email or Facebook.
This app is “the most comprehensive digital field guide to North American Birds” and was a finalist in the 2010 Appy Awards. It also received five stars from Common Sense Media, who rated it 5 out of 5 for Ease of Play and 5 out of 5 for Educational Value. Devoted genome fans may also want to click on “Home” (at left, just above the Audubon Birds Trailer) then scroll down to “top stories,” which currently lists: “Genes Play a Big Role in Songbirds’ Travel Plans.” Or click on “News” and select “What’s New” from the menu for an article that compares birding to Pokémon Go (http://www.audubon.org/news/are-you-birder-or-pokemon-go-master). Oddly, Pokémon Go is now estimated to have 700+ “species,” too! Pokémon players, and birders of all ages, can combine their passions to find wee critters – virtual and real – hiding in plain sight!
About the Creators:
The Audubon Birds app was created by Audubon Guides and the National Audubon Society (NAS). The NAS mission is to employ expertise in science, education, and policy to achieve its goals of protecting and restoring local habitats and implementing policies that safeguard birds, other wildlife, and natural resources. NAS’s efforts stretch across the United States and beyond, throughout North and South America.