Today’s column is for those who can’t tell the difference between a phoenix and a griffin.
They’re fine with birds, but they’re mythical. Nonetheless, there are plenty of birds around – and for all the knowledge many have about them, they might as well be phoenixes or griffins.
This is where the Merlin Bird ID comes into play. This is a very helpful app (available for iOS and Android systems). Created free of charge by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology with the goal of improving and protecting birds in the wild.
You may meet some birds you don’t know very well, but you can make five simple observations and tell Merlin about them. The app requires sighting location and date, size and color, and bird behavior.
As you type, Merlin will create a list of suspects.
The first two questions (location and date) may seem unimportant, but they are actually the most important. “It takes years of experience in the field to know what species to expect at a given location and date,” says the Cornell Labs website. “Merlin shares this knowledge based on over 800 million sightings of him submitted to his eBird.org by birders around the world.”
Details from Gadget Daddy:
Taking a picture of the bird makes the identification task even easier. Simply upload your photo into the app and Merlin will present your options and more. This photo ID feature works offline. Birdwatchers often find themselves outside the range of cell towers.
The images provided to the program may be new, just snapped, or taken previously, but I haven’t had time to use the photo feature to identify the bird.
A Cornell spokesperson said more than 8,000 species are included in the photo ID library. Images are taken from those included in the eBird.org and Macaulay libraries.
The Macaulay Library, also in Cornell, offers another way Merlin can help identify birds. This library has over 42 million photos, audio recordings and videos. Includes his 10,000+ species of birds from over 8,000 contributors. Nearly 1,500 scientific publications use the archive. The world’s largest archive of animal sounds.
If you have a bird song recording, upload it to the app. species may be identified. Alternatively, users can listen to bird calls to know the calls of different species.
Beginner birders will appreciate the Merlin Bird ID because it is easy to use and designed to help users expand their knowledge.
please download it. I don’t think there are egrets.
Oh! What a cheesy joke.
Lonnie Brown can be reached at LedgerDatabase@aol.com.