Information and Technology

App-etizers: For the Birds!

Eric Berube ~ IT Service Desk and Avid Birdwatcher

Story posted May 21, 2012

Eric Berube shares his favorite apps for bird watching.

Eric started his professional career in the environmental sciences, or more specifically wildlife ecology. Now he works in IT at the Help Desk. You may see him on campus helping with your computer or staring up a tree on the quad looking at birds!

Two applications he uses when going birding are BirdsEye and The Sibley eGuide. As an avid birdwatcher, these two apps have changed the way that he goes birding. Birdseye comes in handy when he is in an unfamiliar area because it has the ability to show where the birding hotspots are (identified by people online at The hotspots show every bird that has ever been reported at that location, and also shows the most recent sighting record. Birdseye now has a new partner app that allows the user to make lists of birds seen in the field and report them to

Eric uses the Sibley eGuide for all his bird identification needs. It is, in his opinion, the best for recorded calls and for general identification using hand drawn images. BirdsEye also has photos of birds, but he finds studying the field marks of birds on Sibley’s drawings much easier than looking at real images. A comparison of two species of birds side-by-side can now also be done, which can be very useful when unsure of which bird you are looking at.

A great feature that both apps have is the ability to play the songs/calls of the birds. This feature is always useful when identifying a bird is difficult. One secret not everyone knows is playing the calls over the speakers can often bring birds in closer as they check out the competitor (playing an Eastern Screech Owl can get the whole forest wound up!).

Please Note: Playing recordings should only be done very infrequently and only to non-sensitive species. If in doubt, it's better not to disturb the birds in this manner.

Following are links to these and other birding apps you may enjoy. Each app has many more features worth exploring, for those who are interested!

The Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America LITE (FREE) contains 30 species of birds, along with detailed maps and information, sound recordings, filters and side-by-side comparisons. The full version of the app contains 813 species of birds, and is downloadable for $19.99. 

BirdsEye ($19.99), with real time bird finder, detailed maps, rare bird sightings, multiple bird songs and calls, and many helpful bird finding tips.

Bird Watching Manual ($2.99) is a beginning guide to bird watching, loaded with interesting information and helpful techniques.

Audubon Birds - A Field Guide to North American Birds ($1.99) has the ability to locate birds in real time, with over 8 hours of audio, multiple images of each species, in-depth descriptions, field identification, and journaling feature.

iBird Backyard Plus ($.99) has full color maps, links and bookmarking, illustrations and landscape-mode photos, a photo gallery for storing and sharing, iBird blog, and bird songs with spectrogram.

iBird Explorer PRO ($2.99) takes the iBird Backyard Plus app even farther, with 924 species of birds from North America and Hawaii, access to The Hub website, photos and illustrations in HD resolution, and slideshow capabilities.

Chirp! Bird Songs USA + ($2.99) contains 237 bird songs and calls, with quizzes and a slideshow feature.

Angry Birds Free (FREE) isn't a birding app at all! It's a fun game app requiring logic, skill, and brute force all in the name of saving wildlife!

Pictured above:
Eric Berube ~ IT Service Desk and Avid Birdwatcher

"For me, an avid birdwatcher, these two apps have changed the way that I go birding."

enlarge this imageClick image to enlarge…

BirdsEye BirdLog App, Sibley eGuide: American Robin, American Robin, Sibley eGuide: Downy Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker,