Since the iPhone came out I wondered how long it would take for someone to come out with some good birding apps. Longer than I had expected, it turns out. A few small apps with limited usefulness appeared early on but none had the two main rings I was looking for: a mini field guide and a checklist. Then one day I came across something new, and very promising: the iBird Explorer Plus software.
What a fantastic piece of software for the birder or perhaps even more so for the bird photographer. Just to be clear, I am not a birder, but I am a bird photographer. I also firmly believe that you cannot be a really good wildlife photographer without knowing your subject. So I am always reading and observing in order to improve my chances of making a really great photograph. Now along comes iBird!
iBird is the first software that I purchased for my iPhone and I have had my phone for almost a year! It has everything that I need to know to identify birds while in the field. Great descriptions, great illustrations, great photographs (yes, some are mine) and even calls are included in this application.
This app is brilliant, and it’ll get better. It’s a clever use of the iPhone’s technology that will actually increase people’s knowledge of, and appreciation for, the planet they’re on. How often does that happen? I suspect that there will be people who’ll buy the iPhone (or iPod touch) solely to use this app, and I have trouble saying that’s a completely bad idea.
While it is unlikely a mobile phone or PDA application will ever replace a printed field guide, it is wonderful to see such applications being developed. The iBird Explorer Plus from the creators of Whatbird.com is the premiere portable field guide.
iBird Explorer provides entries for 891 North American Birds and can be browsed by scrolling or entering the first or last name of the bird or by family.
For a price of only $19.99, iBird Explorer Plus is a great deal and should be in every birder’s pocket.
I recently ran across a software program called iBird Explorer that was featured in Apple’s iPhone application store. Having a grandfather who was a published ornithologist, and being a bit of a backyard birder, it is unsurprising that the application caught my eye. So after browsing through some user generated reviews, I decided to buy the application – and not just the featured version priced at $4.95, but the deluxe version priced at $19.95. In the ensuing weeks, despite the continued prognosis of further global economic doom, I have felt every penny of that was well spent.
My personal reaction should be very welcome news to publishers because what I bought was less a software program and more a digital book. Further, I had recently bought a printed bird guide for about half the price and though it contained nearly identical content, I now feel that I overpaid for the print version, or (perhaps even more encouraging for publishers), underpaid for the digital one.