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New Bird-Watching App Helps You ID Birds By Sound

Take bird watching to the next level with the "Shazam” of birding apps.

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BirdGenie App

The new bird-watching app BirdGenie is regional. You'll need to download either BirdGenie - West (green) or BirdGenie - East (blue) depending on where you live.

A new app might make your bird watching that much easier. BirdGenie allows you to record a bird’s song, which the app then, "provides audio samples of the bird's various songs to compare with your own recording, as well as color photos, useful information, and links to further reading,” according to the Princeton University press release.

The app is regional, and contains 80 types of sounds for 60 birds you are most likely to encounter. You can add information to your recordings, such as photos or comments, and share it with your friends. The app doesn’t require internet access to work, therefore making it convenient for the birder on the go.

According to the Prince University press release, With BirdGenie you can:

  • Quickly identify most birds by recording their songs
  • Look at vivid images of the bird — some in 3-D
  • Listen to samples of the bird's various songs and compare them with your recording
  • Keep a log of all your recordings
  • Attach comments, photos, and other info to share with friends and other users on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
  • Find out useful details about the bird, such as what to feed it
  • Read further about the bird species on the Web through BirdGenie's recommended links
  • Browse the regional built-in catalog for sixty species to learn even more and hear other songs

The software for the app was written by Tom Stephenson and Stephen Travis Pope. Stephenson is the author of The Warbler Guide. Pope is a composer and software engineer.

The creators have big hopes for the app. "Ultimately we’re hoping [it] could be used for citizen science research,” said Tom Stephenson, to Inside Higher Ed. "Right now the scientific community doesn’t have a great library of song sparrows across the country, and there are a lot of different dialects that exist.”

The creators hope that the app will become a supplement for your field guilds. "The one thing about field guides is that the print medium isn’t quite sufficient for the information that you’re trying to relay, but it’s been the only vehicle up until recently,” Stephenson told the Inside Higher Ed. "Having a vehicle like an app or an ebook that has multimedia capabilities is not only natural, but really adds a lot value. The song identification app is another step further.”

The BirdGenie app will be available for iPhone and Android users in summer 2014. It will sale for $2.99.

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Posted: May 20, 2014, 8:15 a.m. PDT

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