I recently downloaded a nifty little app, on my Android that I think will greatly increase my bird photography. iBird Pro is an app built for birders but should have its place on a bird or wildlife photographer’s phone too. iBird is available for both Android and Apple iPhone and is a competitor for the iPhone’s BirdsEye app. iBird has photos of over 900 North American birds, along with sound recordings of their calls, their regions and habitats, and much more. Right now you can snag it for a sale price of $2.99, discounted from its regular $19.99.
To start off, the iBird Pro 2 download took about 10 minutes (on 3G service.) The initial download was about 25MB, and while I’ve read comments of others having errors during download, mine went fine.
After iBird Pro 2 installs you must synch birds to your local database. You may choose which ones you want manually or you may use the “Synch All” feature.
Seeing as my 3G speed just didn’t cut it for the download, I decided to connect to my 12Mbps WiFi. I got all 924 birds synched in about 25 minutes, which wasn’t too bad considering the large amount of data. So I highly recommend using WiFi for your initial install.
Yes, it took a bit longer to download and install than other apps, but for the functionality it didn’t bother me.
924 North American Birds
An alphabetical listing of each with a drawn photo, name, Latin name, and family for quick view.
You can further explore by touching each selection which will bring up a larger picture, details on the bird, and give you the option to view the bird’s
Traits to identify said bird
Calls and songs
One thing I like is that when you have a bird’s sounds up it will also show you which birds have very similar calls, which can make identification easier. It even shows a “Phonetic Text” of how the calls sound. So far I haven’t found a bird that didn’t have at least 1 sound, so I expect they all have them but some 2 or 3. You can also search for birds based on many different criteria such as location, habitat, color, wingspan, and bill length, just to name a few.
Overall the iBird Pro 2 feels a bit sluggish to me. I have an older generation Android, so I can’t really compare to a newer model. Any action takes about a second before it actually occurs, so it may be frustrating to some. Also worth noting is the fact that if you hit the app’s back button or your phone’s back button at any point into iBird’s menus, it takes you back to the very top of the bird list. Then you must either scroll back down or manually type in a name to get back to the bird you were on or where you were in the list.
Like a kid with a new toy, I immediately took the phone out to the back yard. Here in Colorado Springs, American Robins and Black-billed Magpies are everywhere so I decided to try them out. I brought up an American Robin “Bird Sound” and let it play. The recording’s sound was loud and crisp. With my Android’s speakers turned up the sounds came out beautifully with what I believe would be plenty of volume to be heard. (Of course you could always invest in a pair of USB-powered speakers if you need more sound.) For the American Robin, iBird includes 3 different calls. By the time I started playing the second I had a reply coming from a nearby tree. Impressed by the results I decided to try out the Black-billed Magpie, of which iBird has only 1 call. I had to let it play a few times but finally heard a screechy magpie cry from a distance.
As a wildlife photographer I think this will have plenty of uses in the field. If you shoot from a blind iBird will be your best friend. The calls should bring the birds in close. It will also be very useful to find out where birds are; they may be in a tree hidden from your view but if you can get them to sing you’ll know their location. I thought the ability to search for birds by location would be helpful, but unfortunately iBird only lets you narrow location down as far as your state.
High volume/quality calls from 924 birds.
App functions stand-alone, no network connectivity needed.
Abundant information to help identify each bird.
Great price when on sale.
Allows you to see what birds are in your state during each month of the year.
Button layout and function of some could be improved.
Memory hog; according to www.ibird.com the database uses 500MB of storage.
Missing some features from the iPhone app BirdsEye.
Overall I think this is a wonderful app both for photography and birding. I’ve heard that BirdsEye for the iPhone is an incredible app, although I have not had the chance to use it. I know a couple of wildlife photographers that love it. iBird doesn’t have the capability to track recent sightings in your area or narrow down a particular bird species’ location as well as BirdsEye, but if you are an Android user I think it will suit your purpose. Would I purchase it again? Defiantly for the $2.99 price, and most likely at its regular $19.99. While I wish it performed a bit better, it will get the job done and I am happy with the purchase.
Visit http://iBird.com/products/android/iBird-pro for more info on iBird Pro for Android
and http://birdseyebirding.com/index.php/products-pricing for info on the iPhone app, BirdsEye.