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Five apps to help you identify birds and their beautiful songs

Spring means migration and the return of birds to many parts of North America. It also means warmer weather and sunny days that are perfect for birding. Here is a list of apps to help you get outside and start learning about our feathered friends (all prices are USD).

Field Guide for birds [iOS Universal; $0.99 to $19.99]

There are several big-name field guides that include photos and illustrations to help identification, bird calls, range data and other information about each bird species. Included in this list of guides are Audubon, Peterson, Sibley and the all-digital iBird.

Audubon Birds is a digital version of the popular paperback field guide. It has excellent images of the birds, range maps and multiple calls and songs for each bird. It also includes NatureShare which allows you to find and share local bird sightings. The Audubon Birds app is on sale now for $3.99, down from $14.99.

Peterson is another pocket guide to North American birds that has made its way to the digital platform. Peterson has a full version of its paperback guide that sells for $14.99. The company also recently introduced a Pocket edition of its traditional guide that features a lower price tag ($0.99) and a fewer details.

Sibley, another paperback guide, is known for its great illustrations and these details look great on the iPad and iPhone. The Sibley eGuide also has a handy comparison tool and a bird song repeat feature so you can call out to other birds while you are in the field. The Sibley eGuide to North American birds costs $19.99.

iBird offers a variety of guides to suit your pocketbook and your geographical location. If you want a guide that covers 938 North American and Hawaiian species, then you should check out the iBird Pro Guide to Birds, currently available for $19.99. This version also includes audio songs and calls, a search feature that lets you save frequently used searches and iCloud syncing for your notes and favorite birds. There is also a Plus version available for $14.99 that has fewer search filters than the Pro version. iBird has affordable versions ($6.99) for regions like the Midwest, West, South and North. iBirds also has a backyard birds version that'll get you birding from the comfort of your deck longer for $2.99.

Larkwire Birdsong Series [iOS Universal; $14.99 or less]

If you want to turn memorizing bird calls into a game, then you should check out the Larkwire Birdsong series. Similar to the bird guides, Larkwire has several universal iOS apps to meet the needs of a variety of birders.

A Master Birder version is available for both land birds and water birds. The master land bird version includes 394 sounds that cover 343 land species, while the water bird version has 253 sounds from 135 species of water birds. Between these two guides, almost all the major North American land and water birds are covered.

Larksong's regional guides, core guides and backyard guide will introduce you to bird calling on a smaller scale. There's even a basic guide that includes 20 essential bird songs for free.

Chirp! Bird Song USA+ [iOS Universal; $2.99]

Chirp! Bird Song USA+ is part bird song app, part reference app. It uses GPS to find bird calls that are common in your location. As your bird-calling skills improve, you can branch out to include all 263 bird song and calls in the app. Besides the audio recordings, the app has snippets about each call and quiz feature to test your knowledge.

Cornell Lab Bird Q&A [iPhone; $2.99]

The Cornell Lab Bird Q&A app is an educational app about birds. It features a question-and-answer format that cover cool facts about birds, bird feeding, migration and more. These frequently asked questions are answered by the experts from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Birdwatchers Diary [iPhone; $12.99]

Birdwatcher's Diary is a journaling app that allows you to log your bird sightings while in the field. Each entry includes field notes, a time stamp, location information and more. When you are done, you can upload your birding lists to eBird or back them up to Dropbox.

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