Birding app updates and sales for the holidays

Drew WeberApps, General News and Info, Reviews5 Comments

Are you looking for some birding apps to take along with you for your Christmas Bird Counts or as you travel for the holidays? Well, there are several apps that are running sales or have been recently updated.

Peterson Birds of North America – ($14.99 App Store link)

This is currently one of the first field guide apps I go to for bird ID, especially if I am on my iPad. The layout is slick, everything works as advertised and the developers are quick to release updates with new features. There is just something neat about having Roger Tory Peterson’s field guide that revolutionized the way we looked at birds, all available in an app.

There is a lot of information packed into the app from other Peterson branded publications like their hummingbird guide, gull guide and molt guide.

Some of the newer features available include checklists with abundances (from eBird of course) that you can download to the app. These are available for all the hotspots in eBird and are also available at the county level. These charts are something that no other app offers and is very helpful for figuring out which species are abundant throughout the year. Read the full Nemesis Bird review.

BirdsEye – ($19.99 App Store link)

 This is the number one birding app for me, easily the one that I use the most. Harnessing the power of eBird (you do use it right?), you can quickly see what birds have been seen in the area and what’s been seen in the last week. I enter my year list into the app and it tells me which birds not on my list have been reported nearby. You can select a single species and view all the closest reports. I’ve found myself using this app daily to see what birds are being reported nearby by other birders and to keep track of my year list. As a bonus, Kenn Kaufman offers little bits of wisdom for each bird and there are multiple calls and songs for each species. I consider this app a must buy for any serious birder.

They just released version 1.4 which adds a couple features. The most notable is when browsing through the hotspots map, hotspots with birds you have not yet seen have a different marker, letting you know that you can see something new there.

Audubon Birds ($19.99 App Store link)

I haven’t had a chance to do a full review on this app yet but it really looks great. New features include eBird integration similar to BirdsEye, which is a great addition to its ability to create multiple life lists and great photos used for the guide. This app is different from the Peterson and Sibley apps with its use of bird photography and makes a nice addition to a birders collection of apps.

The Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America – ($29.99 App Store link)

If you are a fan of the Sibley Bird Guides, this is the app to get. You get all the information and first-class illustrations of the Sibley guides, plus a good number of songs and calls for each species. Another nice feature is the ability to compare two species. The ability to fit the entire “big Sibley” into my pocket is awesome and I definitely recommend this to any birder out there. It does offer a list making feature but it is not very complete. Update: Sibley eGuide was just updated for the iPad, read the review here.

Other good birding apps –

National Geographic’s Handheld Birds™ – National Geographic Society

Birder – Firefly mWare LLC

birdJam HeadsUp Warblers – MightyJams

Audubon Birds and Butterflies – A Field Guide to North American Birds and Butterflies – Green Mountain Digital

CornellLab Bird Q&A: Your birding questions answered – Tipitap Inc.