I recently installed a great iPhone app called iBird Backyard that has helped me identify the birds I see visiting my container garden. For example, this morning I was aggressively chased by a perturbed hummingbird. I used iBird Backyard to determine that the little guy was an Anna’s Hummingbird. There was no need to run inside and furiously google. I just reached into my purse and pulled out my phone. A minute later I knew the name of the bird that was dive bombing me.
When you first click on the app, you’re taken to a screen where you can browse through all the birds in the database. You can look through the list by name or by type of bird (for example, “hummingbirds” or “pigeons and doves”). Each bird is listed by name and has a small illustration next to the name, which really helps you find the bird you’re looking for.
When you click on a bird name, you’re taken to a screen like the one in the photo above. Every bird included in the app has its own page with this info:
- Several different illustrations of the bird (think Audubon-style drawings) showing the bird from different angles
- A map showing where the bird is likely to be found
- Written descriptions of identifying marks, habitat, song, quick facts, etc
- Many of the birds have photos
- An audio file of the bird’s song (my favorite feature!)
In addition to just scrolling through an alphabetical list of birds, you can also search for a bird by telling the program to look for certain characteristics. To figure out the identity of that angry hummingbird, I told iBird to search for hummingbirds that live in California and have pink feathers.
The creator of the iBird Backyard app makes several other versions that include more birds than the “Backyard” version I purchased, but I bet that for most people who are gardening on a balcony or patio, Backyard will do the trick. For $4.99 you get access to a searchable database of 144 birds common in North American backyards and other sub/urban areas. Definitely worth checking out (the link should take you to the iTunes store).
Bonus: the bird sounds in the app will amuse your cat for a loooong time.
Oh, and one more thing…Have you seen Gayla’s iPhone wallpapers? Very chic!