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Merlin Bird ID

Merlin Bird ID App on phone screens
Merlin Bird ID App

We often hear birds singing or calling. But many times, the birds remain hidden amongst the vegetation, so identifying the bird is difficult. But now with the help of Merlin, a free app developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, we can identify those birds. In this case it is a common yellowthroat, a yellow colored warbler with a black mask that is often heard while hidden in the vegetation on the margins of wetlands.

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

There are basically five components to Merlin. By simply selecting the size of an observed and unknown bird based on a few silhouettes, selecting the main colors of the bird, and where it was observed (for example a feeder, swimming, or on the ground) The Bird ID Wizard will produce a list of possible matches.

One of the more fun and interesting aspects of Merlin is being able to Identify Bird Songs and Calls. You simply press “Sound ID” to record the bird songs or calls you are hearing, and it will then list the possible species making the call or calls. It is quite accurate! That is fun. And very helpful!

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

For those of you that want to start a Life List, Merlin’s “Save My Bird” will provide for that. And finally, the Explore Lists of Birds Near You enables you to explore the birds in an area, perhaps even by time of year by accessing information through eBird, a widely used biding tool which collects birders observations from around the globe.

As their website states, “Merlin is designed to be a birding coach for bird watchers at every level.” Look for the free Merlin app at the App Store or Google Play.

Chuck Lura has a broad knowledge of "Natural North Dakota"and loves sharing that knowledge with others. Since 2005, Chuck has written a weekly column, “Naturalist at Large,” for the Lake Metigoshe Mirror, and his “The Naturalist” columns appear in several other weekly North Dakota newspapers.
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