Best Apps for Birding with Kids
Put the best tools for birding right in your pocket! These ten apps offer great comprehensive information on bird identification, eBird data input, observation recording, and bird sounds. With thousands of species, photos, and sounds, these apps are a must for birders on the go – explore which ones are right for you and the youth you work with.
eBird Mobile App
If you are ready to upgrade your eBird experience, or looking for a convenient and paperless way to log your bird sightings, you should download the eBird mobile app. Going paperless with your bird checklists means that you have fewer items to keep track of and be able to focus more on the birds. Use this app to track and upload your sightings right to eBird from the field, at home, or on the go. Keep a bird counting iPad for the class, and with the sightings portion of the application, you’ll never lose track of which species you’ve seen.
To start, you simply sign in with your eBird account then submit your observations! 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.
*Android users can still use the Birdlog North America app.
Update! Merlin now has a photo ID feature that allows you to take pictures in-app or use existing photos to identify birds! A learning algorithm uses your photos, location, and date to identify the bird. It’s like magic! Additionally, Merlin now offers a “packages” feature, allowing you to save storage space on your phone my only downloading birds in your region.
Educators and kids love the Merlin ID app because of the simplicity it brings to birding. First asking five questions – when, where, size, color, and behavior – Merlin uses eBird data to give the species in your area that fit the criteria. The app also provides 1,000+ photo resources, tips from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s expert birders, and bird sounds from the Cornell Lab’s Macaulay Library. Because of the simple, user-friendly interface, birding becomes both easy and fun! Give it a try!
Peterson Birds of North America
Open up the Peterson app and you’ll see the families of birds grouped taxonomically. The app already starts out by grouping birds in a way that students should become comfortable with. Students then can browse through bird types and learn a lot about each group of birds in general, or can select a particular species to get a full species profile. The app’s fantastic tutorial will prepare you to created checklists, practice identification skills and make the most of the 800+ bird species, bird songs, and the illustrations and photographs that come from Peterson Field Guides. Compare species by song, range, or appearance for easy, on-the-go identification. Extensive information about molting patterns can help with any species whose coloration looks different than expected. The app also includes range and distribution maps, nesting photos, bird sounds, and access to county information from the eBird database.
Free for iOS users.
Audubon Birds Pro offers a large bird guide with 800+ species and over 3,000 images, eight hours of bird sounds, seasonal and migratory range maps, birding help guides, NatureShare community access, and the eBird database. The bird classification information can be downloaded for use when offline. Browsing through the bird accounts is simple and the app integrates the ability to look at similar species and sighting reports into the individual detailed species accounts.
The unique NatureShare social feature sets this app apart in that users may aquire followers or follow other birders to keep tabs on what is being viewed. This feature makes for a great online classroom tool allowing students to view other students checklists or followup with what the class saw on a given day. This also allows users to browse what people around the country are viewing.
BirdsEye Bird Finding Guide*
This app will help prepare you for a birding adventure with your kids! Use the “Nearby Birds” to find out which birds were recently seen within your area or open up the “Browse by Location” tab to view checklists that were recently submitted in nearby areas. These features will help you feel prepared and inspired as you head outside to discover birds with kids.
The app provides information and population statistics on 1,000+ birds across North America. Enter a life list (which can be imported from eBird) to keep track of observed birds and to also be notified when ‘needed’ birds are reported close by. You can also view seasonal populations, current lists of birds reported near your location, and notifications of when rare birds are observed in your area.
*The app developers note that the Bird Finding Guide and Birds Eye North America are identical in app content
EyeLoveBirds is a great, simple birding app to bring with you. With detailed profiles of common species, high quality photos, and bird calls, it is a great tool for the beginning birder. This would be an excellent resource for students to learn with due to its intuitive design and simple layout.
Free for iOS users.
The next apps are not free, but are fantastic resources for educators that are willing to spend a little!
iBird Pro North America
iBird pro is a comprehensive bird guide that offers information on 900+ bird species, 5,000+ photographs, composite illustrations, and 2,400 audio recordings of bird sounds. Keep track of your identifications, observations, and notes with iBird’s list function. A unique feature to iBird Pro is that all information can be synced to DropBox and the app connects to Flickr to allow users to see a wide range of images of the species. The app also synchs with an iJournal app that has enhanced features for tracking birds.
A fun “slideshow” features can be great for teaching, allowing users to see and hear birds sequentially. If focusing only on particular species or traits, the slideshow can be customized to show species from a particular list such as the favorites list.
If you want the book in your hand-held device this app is the way to go. Set your location in the Sibley eGuide and the app will automatically customize itself to focus on the birds that live in your area. From there, the Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America offers an interactive version of their print guides. With the same detailed information and over 6,600 images, the Sibley guide displays seasonal, age, and male/female variations for all species. Descriptions include subspecies and regional variations, migration maps, songs and calls. Side-by-side species comparisons are easy to set up through this app, allowing youth to easily notice the differences between house finches and purple finches to house finches and a laughing gull. The app also features 2,300 sound recordings, split-screen comparison of species, distinguishing features search capability, and exportable personal species list.
How are these apps working for you? Do you use an app not listed here that is great for working with kids? Let us know in the chat below!
Please note: Apps are constantly developing and the prices here may not reflect their current status. Always check pricing before purchasing.