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Cornell Releases New Bird ID App for iPhone

screen568x568A quick search at the Apple App Store reveals a host of fantastic birding apps that help you do everything from finding specific species next to you to learning how to identify birds by ear.

Even though you might not think we need yet another birding app, a new app created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology begs to differ.

The free app called Merlin is designed to help people identify 285 North American species by asking five questions before showing images that match the description.

What sets this apart from other apps is that Merlin taps into eBird, which detects what birds have been spotted nearby during that time period to get even more accurate results. You may also remember Cornell asking participants to ID birds for this, meaning this app learned from actual bird watchers.

I’ve done some early testing and it looks to be very accurate, but there are some limitations, seeing how there are more than 900 species in North America and this app only has 285 at the moment.

Although the app is currently only available for the iPhone, Cornell is working on an Android and web version, but those won’t be released until later.

I’ll have a more extensive review of the app a little later, but at $0, this app is definitely something iPhone users should pick up.

Click here to go to the download page.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.