WhatBird.com has introduced a cool new toolbar to help in looking up bird species. We often have difficulties with shorebirds so by going through the toolbar’s filters, we can narrow down the total birds in the WhatBird database to help reach an identification (or at least a closer idea).
To get started, you must download the toolbar from the WhatBird website and install it on the Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Flock web browsers. We installed it on all three browsers [it won’t run on Mac’s Safari].
The toolbar installed easily on each of the three, but the screenshots are from Flock.
Initially, the toolbar only has the list of birds and the location as seen below. To apply the other filters, click on “prefs” and check the appropriate boxes for shape and color.
To test the toolbar out, we looked up Illinois “sandpiper-like” birds with “white” as their main color. This narrowed down the total possible birds from 891, to 286, to 25, and color did not dig any deeper. Once you have a smaller list, you can scroll through to find a likely bird.
We chose Ruddy Turnstone from the list and it loaded a new tab with the species profile.
The filtering system works quickly but is not 100% accurate, especially depending on color. For example, choosing “red” narrows down the birds to two, neither of which is the Ruddy Turnstone which indeed has red (or reddish) coloring.
But considering the toolbar is free and provides a quick connection into the WhatBird database, it is a good learning tool and with a bit of tweaking, will be a welcomed edition to your browser. The database in itself is a wonderfully rich resource.