Part of parenting is teaching our kids how to use technology wisely. This means introducing them to apps that motivate them to engage in the world around them.
Nature apps are a great way to bridge this connection and spark a new sense of wonder with kids. Since I’m a bird lover, bird apps are some of my favorite apps. It’s easy to identify a bird using an app when you’re out on a hike. And, there are bird apps that help identify birds by their songs as well. A few well-chosen bird apps will have you identifying birds beyond the basic backyard robin in no time. I’ve tested lots of great apps for birding.
Here are My Favorite Bird Apps
The Audubon Society
Merlin is a great app that makes bird identification simple. To identify a bird, Merlin first asks five questions – when, where, size, color, and activity of the bird observed. Merlin also offers an “identify from photo” option making it easy to identify birds you’re able to photograph. Using eBird data, Merlin then gives the most common species around you matching the criteria entered. This bird app offers 1,000+ photo resources, tips from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s expert birders, and bird sounds from the Cornell Lab’s Macaulay Library. Merlin is incredibly intuitive and easy to use. If you only select one bird app for your kids, Merlin is the one to pick.
Larkwire contains 343 bird species and a bird song identification game with four difficulty levels. Create playlists, learn song identification tips, and have fun while listening to the birds around you! The interactive quiz feature shows what you’ve learned. This is such a fun bird app. Kids will just think of it as playing a game when in fact they are learning so much about birds!
eBird Mobile Bird Apps
The free eBird Mobile app will allow you to upload data from anywhere. eBird replaces the former BirdLog app. The eBird Mobile app offers exact location pinning using your phone’s GPS, personal or public HotSpot locations, and easily exported lists to share across media platforms. One feature I love is that eBird Mobile app automatically includes your bird sightings in the Great Backyard Bird Count if you use the app during the GBBC counting period. If you already have an existing GBBC/eBird account, simply log into the app with your account information. If eBird app is new to you, just create a free account.
eBird gives you a paperless way to log your bird sightings. Use this app to track and upload your sightings right to eBird from the field, at home, or on the go. You’ll never lose track of which species you’ve seen and where.
If you are interested in learning more about birds use eBird Mobile and join us Friday, February 17, through Monday, February 20, 2017 for the Great Backyard Bird Count. Anyone can take part in the GBBC. For as little as 15 minutes, beginning bird watchers to experts participate simply by counting birds from their backyard, or favorite birding spot. Of course, you can count birds longer than 15 minutes, and you can participate every day of the event.
Paid Bird Apps
The following apps do have a small cost.
iPro Birds – North America
What’s so great about the Great Backyard Bird Count?
You don’t have to be a birding expert to take part.
Is a robin the only bird you can identify? That’s fine. GBBC encourages you to count the birds you can identify. Kids are often inspired to learn when they are involved. This event very well may have them off on their own learning quest as they seek to identify the feathered friends they see. Let your kids use some bird apps to identify birds in your backyard. Then let them submit their findings using eBird Mobile. Be sure to check out the GBBC for kids website. There are lots of resources available so kids can learn more about birds.
It’s easy and fun to participate.
According to their website, GBBC simply asks participants to “Count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the GBBC.” You can count longer than 15 minutes, or you can participate one day or all 4 days. It’s up to you! You can submit your findings paper-free using eBird Mobile or submit your list directly on the website as well. GBBC has downloadable instructions available. They also have an instructional video.
If your family is feeling a bit housebound, download a few bird apps. Then, look outside and enjoy the birds in your yard.
More Ways To Learn About Birds
- Why Study Backyard Birds
- Notebooking Backyard Birds
- Attracting Birds To Your Backyard
- Bird Beak Experiment
- Easy To Make Bird Feeders
- Bald Eagle Unit Study Ideas
- The Great Backyard Bird Count
- Hands-On Bird Nest Study
- Hummingbird Field Trip
Leah Nieman is a wife and mom of 2 homeschool graduates. She’s a popular speaker who encourages parents to walk with their kids through the world of social media and technology so we raise a generation of digitally responsible young adults. You can find her eBooks Connected: Apps All Parents Should Know, Let’s Get Social: A Straightforward Guide for Kids on Social Media, and Connected: A Parent’s Guide to Snapchat, as well as tips on technology and social media at leahnieman.com.