While spring and summer are the prime seasons for bird watching, our winged friends are everywhere all the time, and they often switch out with the seasons, especially during peak migration. The best way to keep track of who and where they are is with smartphone apps. Many apps are adapted directly from the paper field guides of old — unless, of course, you’re interested in a new A.I. camera still under development that not only photographs birds but identifies them too.
Even if you have been bird watching for years, a guide is always handy to help you identify new sightings. Handbooks are great, but they can be heavy and bulky. The best bird guide may very well be the one that’s always in your pocket. Here are some of our favorite 2020 birding apps for iOS and Android.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Merlin Bird ID app field guide is designed to help you learn about birds. Created for all birdwatchers, Merlin uses A.I. deep learning to identify birds you observe in your yard, the park, or the street. Merlin shows the birds near you that match your description based on some simple questions or a photo you shoot with your device. Customized location and date tools generate answers for your neighborhood or wherever you are. Bird packs contain photos, songs and calls, and identification help for many regions around the world, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. Once you’ve identified a bird, you can see photos, hear calls, and get more information.