Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Review: The Warbler Guide App

This amazing app is available at the iTunes Store for $12.99 for iPhones and iPads, and it is worth every penny. (An Android version is coming.) If you make this purchase, be sure you are buying the app and not the book with the same name (unless, of course, you want both formats). 

Some people say, “There is nothing new on this Earth,” but they have never seen The Warbler Guide App. This app is a fast, intuitive way to identify the warblers of the United States and Canada by visuals and/or song. You can quickly access images of all species with comparisons to similar warblers.  Side, face, underside, and head-on views are all available. Similar species are shown on the bottom of the screen.

You can filter the images by region of North America, color, and season. You can even fill in, almost like "painting by numbers," the colors of the parts of the bird you’ve seen, and the app will give you identification suggestions. You can combine this with a description of the song—is it buzzy, clear, or what?  Does the song descend or go up?  The result is that you are presented with just a few of the most likely warblers based on your description.

The app contains a library of songs, with multiple variations for each species. You can set the songs to play at half speed, which may help you to learn them. (The songs’ pitches do not seem to be affected.)

What sets this app apart from anything else I have seen is its 3-D images. You can view a bird portrait and rotate it anyway you want—sideways, upside down (good for under-tail coverts), straight-on, or fleeing.  You can get both close-up and far-way views. You can pick two similar species and rotate them simultaneously.  It’s worth the $12.99 just to see this one feature alone!

The app contains all the information found in The Warbler Guide book, which I have previously recommended in this blog. Range maps, habitat, and behavior of each species are easily accessed. The birds can be arranged by general color, alphabetically, or taxonomically.

You have to see this app—welcome to the new world of field guides….

2 comments:

  1. Any updates on when the Android version will be available?

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    1. Try contacting Princeton University Press: http://press.princeton.edu/birds/contact.html

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