Top 10 Apps for Birding with Kids
Put the best tools for birding right in your pocket for the next time you head outside with kids! 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 and your students don’t have to fumble around with papers, pencils, and clipboards. 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.
Both educators and kids love Merlin because the app makes bird identification so simple it seems like magic. To identify a bird, Merlin first asks five questions – when, where, size, color, and activity of the bird observed. Using eBird data, Merlin then gives the most common species around you who fit the criteria provided. 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!
BirdsEye Bird Finding Guide*
What birds will I see when I go outside with my students? The BirdsEye Finding Guide will answer that for you! Open the app and select “Nearby Birds” to find out which birds were recently seen within your area. Looking for an outdoor space to take the kids birding? Open up the “Browse by Location tab in the app and you can view checklists that were recently submitted in nearby areas. These features will help you feel prepared 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
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 functionality. 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. Another perk to the app is the daytime/nighttime mode that helps to control screen brightness for when you are out during the day or prowling for birds at night.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A smooth, clean, interface, National Geographic’s app makes browsing for birds fun with easy-to-use filters that provide a variety of ways to narrow down the large list of North American birds. This app features 1,000 species, 800 range maps, and identification skill quizzes. With comparable life lists, MyJournal, and extensive birding ‘how-to’ guides, this app is a great tool for budding birders. The app also includes a unique news section where users can get various updates on birds and before opening the article can see what birds are mentioned in the article.
BirdCodes is a quick and easy app designed for learning the Pyle and DeSante alpha code system. Simply type in the bird’s name you are looking for and receive the four-letter bird code for shorter note taking or eBird checklists. With bird codes, you and your students will learn and be able to utilize a tool that scientists use to quickly make note of birds!
Cost: Free for iOS users.
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! Little by little your students will be able to gain confidence identifying birds by sound with the help of the interactive quiz features. Just make sure everyone has headphones unless you are aiming to fill your classroom with a dawn chorus!
Cost: $14.99 for iOS users.
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.