Even if you’re not going for your own Big Year in birding, having a handy birding app on your iPhone or Android could come in handy for identifying birds out on your birding expeditions or even a walk around the neighborhood. Personally, I find them extremely helpful for these plus determining the best kinds of birdseed to buy for my patio bird feeders.
Whether you’re a newbie to birdwatching or getting a refresher course on bird species and their calls, these apps will come in handy. Just take a gander (pun intended!) and choose the right one for your needs and location.
eBird Mobile App
The eBird Mobile app is a great app for your birdwatching checklists. You can track and upload your sightings from the field, the backyard, or that sighting on a walk through downtown. With the app you can even pin exact locations of your spotting to help out other birders find a nest or gathering of birds hanging out nearby. Then, share your sightings via social media with the easy export option.
The app is free for both iOS and Android users.
A popular app among birders is the Merlin Bird ID app. Use the app’s 5 questions or snag a photo of the bird to help identify the bird among over 3,500 species available on the app. You can download bird-packs for your region (or region you travel to), listen to bird calls for learning identification, and enjoy high-res photos of birds, even while you’re offline.
The app is free for both iOS and Android users.
A popular app for birders is Warblr, designed out of the UK. It helps you identify birds by their songs. Simply record birdsongs and upload them, then the app will identify the bird for you by the recording. It will then provide you with images and descriptions so you can identify the bird visually, too.
The app is available on both iOS and Android for a small fee.
Audubon Bird Guide: North America
For North American bird enthusiasts, the Audubon Bird Guide: North America will help you get the job done. The app works as your field guide with bird songs and calls. The app is updated regularly, too, to include more birds and data on the regular, to help your get in more sightings of more unique birds in your area or on your travels.
Get the app for free on both Android and iOS.
For those looking to identify bird songs, Song Sleuth is a great choice. The app listens to bird songs and calls and throws potential matches your way. Once you’ve confirmed the bird’s identification, the Sibley guide included provides you with details about the species.
The app is available for free on both Android and iOS.
Ever been out for a walk and seen a large bird swoop down but couldn’t identify it? Well, the Raptor ID app is for you! The app comes from HawkWatch International and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Through the app you get expert advice, annotated photos, range maps, and videos with voice-overs to explain and explore birding. You can even compare flight patterns and behaviors of the birds swooping through the sky to help make the best match possible.
iBird Pro Guide to Birds
Another fantastic app that covers a lot of birdwatching ground is the iBird Pro Guide to Birds. Use the app to identify bird species across North America or other countries (in-app purchase required for that). For each species, you’ll find detailed descriptions, with information on over 963 common, uncommon, and rare species across the country. You’ll learn where the birds live, what they look like, size, weight, sex differences, and more, with up-to-date information. Plus, you can share your sightings via the app to social media pretty easily.
This bird-finding app, Birds Eye, comes with a variety of features any birder would love. There are rare-bird alerts from the American Birding Association, recent sightings, and species hotspots to help you find species you’ve been looking for on your bird field guide. The app also offers month-by-month bar charts on where you’ll likely find bird species and simple descriptions, photos, and audio recordings of each species in the database.
The app is free on both iOS and Android for free, with in-app upgrades for specific features.
The Warbler Guide
The Warbler Guide offers a fantastic app with a fun side to it. Look at images of and listen to songs by warblers from practically any angle possible. Figure out which warblers you might be seeing and hearing, too, by use of the location and season information in the app, along with the amazing library of songs you’ll find within.
The app is available on both Android and iOS for a fee.
EyeLoveBirds is a simple, great app for beginning birdwatchers to get started with. The app shows profiles of common species with high-res images, bird calls, and more. Use the local regional pack for free or purchase additional packs for small fees.
The app is available only on iOS.
Sibley Birds Version 2
Another highly comprehensive app of North American birds is the Sibley Birds Version 2 app. With over 930 species identified, using the artwork of David Sibley, you’ll also find descriptions, distribution maps, species comparisons, related species overviews, conservation status, and more, for every bird species in a given area.
Buy the comprehensive app for a one-time fee with no need for add-ons for either iOS or Android.
Larkwire Learn Bird Songs
A fun app to use for birdwatching with the kids is Larkwire Learn Bird Songs. The app teaches you how to identify birds by their songs and uses an adaptive algorithm to teach you using your own personal learning style. The lessons are game-like and easy to follow along with, and there are over 400 species of birds and more than 2,500 digitally mastered bird song recordings and bird calls from these species available within the app.
Find the app for iOS for free, with some in-app purchases available.
Collins Bird Guide
For European birding adventures, consider the Collins Bird Guide app. This one uses gorgeous illustrations from the Collins Bird Guide and provides you with vivid recordings, super easy searching, comparison guides, filters for searching for birds by characteristics not name, and much more. The app offers over 3,500 illustrations and 750 bird song recordings, plus listings, recordings, and organizational tools to keep track of your birding.
Smart Bird ID
Finally, with over 1,000 species and offline IDing capabilities, the Smart Bird ID app is a great choice for picture, video, and birdcall identification for birders. Run your data through the app for identification online or offline and keep track of your bird sightings with easy social media sharing as well. Plus, all of your data is stored in a data cloud for this one for easy transferring. There are also some fun quizzes and in-app purchases to up the score on this app even more.
Grab Those Binoculars and Get to Birding!
Birding makes for the perfect any-season hobby for you or you and your kids. So, download your favorite birding apps and grab the best birding binoculars you can find, then hit that hiking trail! Soon, you’ll have a list of species you’ve never noticed before and can easily share that with your social media pals.