written by: luis84•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 5/24/2011
Put down the heavy field guide for Bird Watchers and toss the tape recorder filled with bird calls aside. Learn about these handy iPhone Apps for Bird Watchers and go watching in style. View images of each bird, listen to their calls and even view range maps. Find out which application is the best.
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Bird Watching with the iPhone
There are many different devices, books and guides available for bird watchers however it is not until just recently that the iPhone has become the ultimate tool for bird watchers. There are many different bird watching applications available for the iPhone that can provide valuable photos, descriptions, maps and even sounds.
Using the iPhone as a bird watcher guide, you will be able to hear the call of the birds, read about their habits and traits, see real pictures and even maps. The information contained in bird watching apps for the iPhone is more than any one paper book or bird watching guide has to offer. Serious bird watchers should consider the many different applications available for the iPhone.
Bird watching using the iPhone means picking from the many available bird applications for iPhone. This review will help you to decide the best application for bird watches and point you in the right direction so you can download it today.
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iBird Explorer was one of the original bird applications for iPhone. You may have seen iBird Explorer featured on the news or the internet as being one of the best bird applications for the iPhone. iBird Explorer was even featured on an Apple commercial for the iPhone and with good reason. iBird Explorer is a complete iPhone bird app which features a complete database of North American birds. There are many great features that come with iBird Explorer including support for the Hawaiian bird population. iBird Explorer includes a complete listing of 924 species of birds. iBird Explorer features a full database with photos, bird calls, illustrations, descriptions and searchable attributes. The interface for iBird Explorer is among the best of all the bird applications for iPhone. iBird Explorer is second only to The Sibley eGuide of North American Birds which is reviewed later in this article. iBird Explorer can be downloaded via iTunes (here).
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The Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America
The Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America is one of the best bird applications for the iPhone. The Sibley eGuide is a very complete iPhone bird app which features 811 species of birds, complete with drawings. The database of the Sibley eGuide includes multiple drawings and songs for each species of bird. The Sibley eGuide is one of the best bird applications for iPhone because of the incredibly easy to use and functional interface. Navigation is simple within the Sibley eGuide application and information is easy to access, read and understand. There are several searchable characteristics to help locate each species. The Sibley eGuide does a wonderful job at providing multiple illustrations per bird and even allows side by side comparisons of two different species. The only flaw with the Sibley eGuide is that the drawings are not zoomable but that is a minor one. The Sibley eGuide to Birds of North America can be downloaded on iTunes (here).
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National Geographic’s Handheld Birds
National Geographic's contribution to the bird applications for the iPhone: National Geographic’s Handheld Birds is an impressive one. Featuring 867 specifies of birds, National Geographic's Handled Birds places number two on the list for the largest database of species, second only to iBird. National Geographic's Handheld Birds does feature wonderful descriptions of each species and consistent artwork. All species have an included drawing or drawings. The Nation Geographic's Handheld Birds also includes range maps and very detailed descriptions of each species. The biggest con of the National Geographic's Handheld Birds application for the iPhone is the lack of a built-in search feature. One of the only iPhone bird apps to lack a search feature which is often considered essential. The content and artwork are both consistent and useful but the lack of search is hard to look past. National Geographic’s Handheld Birds can be downloaded on iTunes (here).
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Audubon Birds is a very good entry-level bird application for the iPhone. With around 750 species of birds in its database, Audubon Birds is a very useful iPhone bird application. Key features of Audubon Birds include a search function, drawings for each specifies, zoomable images, taxonomic search, range maps and similar birds. The similar birds function is a nice touch and is not found on any other application except iBird Explorer. Audubon Birds does an excellent job at displaying the information and illustration of each species in and presentable and easy to read manner. Navigating the interface for Audubon Birds can be quite frustrating at times which hinders some of the functionality. The camera and gallery functions are a nice touch which are not found in the other iPhone bird apps. Online backup and a favorites list are two other notable features included with Audubon Birds. The Audubon Birds application can be downloaded on iTunes (here).
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Peterson iPhone Bird Field Guide
The Peterson iPhone Bird Field Guide is not necessarily a bad bird application for the iPhone, however, it leaves a lot to be desired. One of the earlier competitors to the bird watching scene for the iPhone, Peterson iPhone Bird Field Guide offers the basic functions of an iPhone bird app however it does offer enough to make it worthwhile. Downright lack of support for a search function is very disappointing and the artwork is of noticeably low quality when zoomed. The database only includes 180 species of birds and additional species can be found in subsequent guides divided by type such as backyard birds. Range maps and interactive quizzes with cool facts about each specifies make Peterson iPhone Bird Field Guide a fun alternative to the traditional bird applications for the iPhone. Unfortunately the lack of a searchable database, very few listed species and a clunky user interface make Peterson iPhone Bird Field Guide one of the less desirable options. The Peterson iPhone Bird Field Guide can be downloaded on iTunes (here).