You’ve heard the question a million times: What bird is that? Now Cornell Lab of Ornithology have a new way to get an answer. Merlin is a free iPhone app developed by the Cornell Lab to help beginners and intermediate bird watchers identify 285 species in North America.
Merlin draws upon 70 million eBird sightings to calculate which species you’re most likely to encounter within about a 30-mile radius of your location at the time when you saw the bird. The app asks five questions about size, location, and so on. Then it displays a range of photos showing birds that match your description. The app also comes with more than 1,400 photos, plus ID tips, sounds, and range maps for each species.
The Cornell Lab plans to release Merlin for Android and online use in the coming months, and will continue to add more species, they said in a recent press release.
The new app was made possible with the support of the National Science Foundation, Pennington Wild Bird Food, and friends and members of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
You can visit the Merlin website to watch a video about how the app works: birds.cornell.edu/