While it is unlikely a mobile phone or PDA application will ever replace a printed field guide, it is wonderful to see such applications being developed. The iBird Explorer Plus from the creators of Whatbird.com is the premiere portable field guide.
iBird Explorer provides entries for 891 North American Birds and can be browsed by scrolling or entering the first or last name of the bird or by family.
The extended search allows you to enter:
- backyard feeder
- bill shape
- bill length
- head pattern
- crown color
- wing shape
- flight pattern
This enables you to filter the birds and find (or at least get closer) to discover the bird in question.
Once you select the individual bird you can cycle through a series of pages that include:
- A general page with drawing and basic description
- A descriptive range map
- Detailed identification tips and information about nesting, migration, and more
- Photo(s) of most of the birds (some do not have a photo yet but they are working on adding more)
- Audio including phonetic text
- Links to similar birds for quick comparison
- Interesting facts
- An external link to more information (from Wikipedia)
Our only thing we don’t like about iBird Explorer Plus is the link in “Birdipedia” would be better suited going to Cornell’s All About Birds and not Wikipedia.
For a price of only $19.99, iBird Explorer Plus is a great deal and should be in every birder’s pocket.
There are also many regional iBird guides:
- backyard $4.95
- west $9.95
- midwest $9.95
- north $9.95
- south $9.95
- canada $9.95