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The Best Smartphone Apps for Birders

While the smartphone application most commonly associated with birds is the quirky Angry Birds game, there are a number of applications solely designed to enhance the birding experience. Here is a rundown of some of the popular apps that help identify birds and offer multimedia features.

The Peterson Field Guide to Backyard Birds

The first app is called the Peterson Field Guide to Backyard Birds and is designed for the iPhone or iPod Touch. This is a good app for beginners because it only offers about 180 popular birds. One of the best things about this app is that there are numerous ways to find the bird you are looking at, either by selecting a location or typing in the bird through a search. Each bird species on the app also comes with the bird’s song. The cost of this app is $2.99.

The iBird Explorer Plus

If you’re a more serious birder looking for a wide variety of species, the iBird Explorer Plus app is your best bet. The newest edition has nearly 1,000 species, an interactive field guide and descriptions of every bird. The pricetag for the main iBird Explorer Plus app is somewhat pricey at $19.99, but it’s available on every platform. You can also buy a cheaper iBird app that only has birds specific to a region, such as the Midwest version, the North version, etc.

The Sibley eGuide to Birds

The Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America is by far the most extensive and expensive of the apps. For the price of $29.99 you can get more than 6,600 images along with substantial information on each species and a way to easily search for the type of species out in the field. The printed version of the Sibley Guide remains the most popular field guide, and its app is great for an avid birder.

Audubon Birds: A Field Guide to North American Birds

This app was a a finalist for the Appy Awards under best app because of its simplicity, pictures and recordings. The Audubon Birds app has an easy mechanism for finding the type of bird you’re looking at wherever you are. At a cost of $14.99, this is a fine app for a beginning birder with an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

National Geographic’s Handheld Birds

Based on the best-selling “National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America,” the National Geographic’s Handheld Birds app has about 1,600 amazing images common in the publication. This app has more than 800 types of birds, the most behind the iBird app, and has upgraded its search function to make it easier to find birds. Currently, the price is $9.99, but it’s usually $14.99.

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.


  1. What smartphone has the best speaker quality and volume?

  2. It basically depends on what type of smartphone you have and what app you’re trying to get. You can get all the iPhones apps straight from iTunes or you just click on the links I attached and it should be on the site somewhere.

  3. I need information how to purchase and download to my smartphone.

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