Thursday, July 2, 2015

Warbler Guide Birding App: A Review

No quilty business today!  
Sometimes I'm just a bird brain!

A few weeks ago, I was invited by Princeton University Press
to review their new Warbler Guide App.
I jumped at the opportunity, only to discover that I could not
access the App from ITunes while I'm vacationing in Canada.
So, I turned to my nerdy Birdy Brother-in-Law for help!

No, no! That's not him.

There he is!
He is my birding mentor
and soley responsible for my birding addiction.
Remind me sometime to tell you about our winter birding adventures
in (Brrrrrrrrrrr) Maine when I was just a beginner.
What did I learn?  Well.....A duck isn't just 'a duck'...
....And not all white clumps are snow....

...But, back on track,
and without further adieu, 
I'd like to take this opportunity to share his review of

The Warbler Guide App

Warblers are some of the most fun birds to find and identify. Unlike sparrows, who are all small brown birds, or sandpipers, who are difficult to distinguish without lots of practice, warblers come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Many are so distinctive in their spring breeding plumage, that it would be nearly impossible to confuse them with any other species. Their colors and patterns are strikingly beautiful.

            The problem with identifying warblers is that it can be difficult to get good looks at them as they flit around the tree tops feeding. Anyone who has followed the sharp, loud, “teacher, teacher, teacher” call of an ovenbird can attest to how hard it is to actually see the bird. And then, in the fall, many warblers lose their brilliant colors and become the “confusing fall warblers” as Roger Troy Peterson famously called them. That is when I need some help identifying them.

            I recently downloaded the new app from Princeton University, “The Warbler Guide.” It covers all the warblers found in the US. Oftentimes, we only catch a quick glimpse of a warbler, maybe from underneath or maybe just of its face. While most field guides only show warblers from a side view, this new app shows every warbler from six different angles: side, face, 3D, 45 degrees, underside and undertail. Did you know that the undertail pattern of many warblers is all you need to ID it? Sometimes that is all you see and that is enough with this app.

            The search function in the app can be programmed by region, season, and color which quickly limits the number of possible birds to search through. Then when I choose from the pictures of all the possible warblers I might see, I also get similar species to compare. So if I am birding the north east in the fall and see a drab gray warbler with a yellow patch on the throat, I might click on  the common yellow throat picture. 

This pulls up the common yellow throat page with taps that leads to an amazing amount of information, such as maps, aging, photos, and habitat. One of the most helpful tabs, especially for identifying birds in the field is the “Comparison Species” which shows similar species.

            This app is really quite complete. It provides all the information needed to identify even the most confusing fall birds or those birds that are difficult to get a good look at. It provides all their songs as well. If you are looking to learn your warblers, this app is just the thing you need. It is easy to use and having such a complete guide with so much information at your fingertips in the field is really amazing.

Great review, Don!  Thanks a million!
I expect our birding adventures next spring
will be that much more awesome.

for this great opportunity.


Sondra said...

OHHH If only I had a smart phone I'd def enjoy this app. Warblers are very difficult way up in the trees always moving, and rarely giving a good look!

Roy Norris said...

A very useful facility Karen, I could do with one for Gulls and Waders (UK) which I always struggle with.{:))

eileeninmd said...

Great review on the warbler guide. I wish I had a smart phone too.
Happy 4th of July, have a great weekend!

Sheila said...

Oh what fun , you love birds so much ,this must be a real treat . I love birds but don't know as much as you do about them ;-)

Fiona said...

I always love reading about your birding adventures.. and love the little squirrel too..

Montanagirl said...

Really nice post! That Warbler Guide is a gem.

Kim Brackett said...

I'm going to share this with my husband. Maybe he can teach me about the local birds. He's knowledgeable about them, but I describe birds in our yard as "the brown one," "the blue one," or "the red one." Thanks so much for sharing!

Allie-oops Designs said...

Ooh I could have used that when I was homeschooling - maybe I can use it now! Thanks!

DeniseinVA said...

That app sounds wonderful Karen. Thanks for sharing that info. Enjoyed your photos.

Vickie said...

I would like to know what the white clump was if it wasn't snow.....LOL

Barb said...

awesome pictures

A Nudge said...

That was interesting - there is so much diversity in God's beautiful world! Thanks for sharing and commenting on WIPs Be Gone.

Judy said...

Bird watching is rather addictive, isn't it? You're out in the woods and see a flash of color, and you just want to know what it was. Thanks for mentioning the app, I'm going to see about adding that to my phone :-)
Have a great weekend!