Review: Audubon Birds, now with more eBird

Audubon Birds – A Field Guide to North American Birds v1.9
$19.99 from the Audubon Birds - A Field Guide to North American Birds - Green Mountain Digital
Green Mountain Digital

A new version of Audubon Birds: A field guide to North American Birds was just recently released and I’ve now had some time to use it and check out the new features. The main part of the app is the field guide. What sets it apart from its competitors like the Sibley eGuide and Peterson Guide is that it relies on high quality photos instead of drawings. It is a solid app with multiple photos for each species, easy navigation to get to high quality songs and calls, range map, description and similar species. It also has some basic listing capabilities.

The feature that really defines that app, however, is the new integration with eBird. From the main screen you can tap ‘Find Birds with eBird’ and this is what I will talk about in this review.

Once you are on the ‘Find Birds with eBird’ page, you are presented with several options. You can search for a particular bird, find nearby sightings, or just look up recently reported rarities. I like using the ‘Find Nearby Sightings’ because I like seeing what other people are finding. This gives you a list of recently seen birds which you can click on to see exactly where they were reported from. You can touch the drop pins to get directions to the spot and see what else was seen there.

If you are traveling and have a specific target bird you would like to see, ‘Locate a Bird’ will help you find where you might be able to find it. ‘Notable and Rare’ helps you find the species that are flagged as rare by the filters eBird has in place to improve the quality of their data. This can include vagrants as well as seasonal rarities. On this screen you will get a list of species with the location they were seen, how many, and when they were seen. Again, you can click on the species to see it on a map and get directions.

The other main option is to look up nearby hotspots. This will quickly let you look up good places to go birding wherever you are. I can see this being very handy when you are traveling and are unfamiliar with the local hotspots. You can click on the drop pins to see what has been seen there recently and to get directions to the spot.

I would recommend this app both for the field guide aspect, as well as the eBird features. I personally prefer illustrations for my field guides but that is a personal preference and the photography in this app is superb. This app is formatted to work on both the iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch so if you have both devices you are really getting your money’s worth. You can purchase it from the iTunes App Store for $19.99.

I want to thank the folks at Green Mountain Digital for providing the review copy of the app.