In between snowstorms lately, we’ve been able to enjoy the sounds of spring as our feathered friends wing north again for summer.
Everyone knows the sound of a Canada goose honking and probably a cardinal singing. But what about all those other bird songs we’re hearing?
The folks at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology have developed a free app for your phone that can identify the voices of 458 bird species in the U.S. and Canada. You can also identify the bird using more than 80,000 photos on file.
The new Merlin Bird ID app makes it easy to identify birds as they’re singing. Simply hold your phone up, tap the “Sound ID” button, and Merlin shows you the name of each bird detected, in real time, along with a photo to help you clinch the ID.
The app is available at App Store for Apple and Google Play for Android phones. It can pull up a likely ID no matter what song or call a bird is making, even if many species are “talking” at once.
“You get not only the thrill of identifying birds with Merlin, but you can learn about each bird with ID tips, range maps and more than 80,000 photos and sounds from the Cornell Lab’s Macaulay Library,” Merlin project leader Drew Weber said. “People are really blown away by Merlin’s capability and depth. In addition to Sound ID, Merlin can also identify birds if you upload a photo or answer five questions about the bird you saw.”
Merlin’s accurate and instantaneous answers are made possible by machine learning technology and by millions of birdwatchers who share their observations with eBird. Engineers at the Cornell Lab trained Merlin Sound ID using 750,000 recordings of bird sounds recorded by birdwatchers.