Merlin Bird ID | Prairie Public Broadcasting

We often hear birds sing or cry. But often the birds remain hidden in the vegetation, so it is difficult to identify the bird. But now, with the help of Merlin, a free application developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, we can identify these birds. In this case, it is a Yellow-bellied Warbler, a yellow-colored warbler with a black mask that is often heard when hidden in vegetation at the edge of wetlands.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology developed the app with the help of more than 5,000 avid birders who contributed things like photos and audio recordings. The app is like having your own bird guide in your mobile phone, complete with photos, maps and recordings.

There are basically five components in Merlin. By simply selecting the size of a sighted and unknown bird based on a few silhouettes, selecting the main colors of the bird, and where it was sighted (e.g. at the feeder, swimming, or floor) The bird identification assistant will produce a list of possible matches.

One of the funniest and most interesting aspects of Merlin is being able to Identify the songs and calls of birds. You just press “Sound ID” to record the bird songs or calls you hear, and it will then list the possible species that are making the call or calls. It’s pretty accurate! It’s funny. And very useful!

Identify birds in a photo allows the user to simply take a photo of a bird and “Photo ID” will produce a list of possible matches.

For those of you who want to start a life list, Merlin’s “Save My Bird” will provide that. And finally, the Explore bird listings near you lets you explore the birds in an area, perhaps even by time of year by accessing information through eBird, a widely used auction tool that collects sightings from birdwatchers around the world.

As their website states, “Merlin is designed to be a birding trainer for birdwatchers at all levels.” Search for the free Merlin app on the App Store or Google Play.

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