Thursday, April 22, 2010

Birds, Mammals and Wildflowers on Call

Cornell University has just created and released something that seems like a very cool idea.

You can now get an app which will give you access to a compilation of 310 songs and calls for 57 species of warblers. The sounds are from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library and are part of the largest archive of wildlife sounds in the world.

Amazingly, the last time these were released in one collection they came in LP format in 1985.

I'm not really a huge birder. I don't keep a life list or anything. But I love to know what I'm seeing and hearing when I'm out hiking, and one of the biggest obstacles to my ability to ID things has always been an incredibly awful musical memory. My theory is that the same gene which causes me to not remember the tune to my favorite songs keeps me from knowing the warblers really well.

This new app is just the ticket for me. Now I can tell which bird is making that lovely sound up in the trees.

I think while I'm downloading that one I'll also go for some of the guide apps put out by Audubon. Although they are a bit pricer than many common phone apps, they are still cheaper than some of the books.

I also like the idea that I can lighten my backpack. I used to always have to choose only one guide to bring along on each hike and even that was bulky and impractical on hot days. But with these on my phone I can have birds, flowers and mammals all at my fingertips.

No comments: