Identifying Birds With Merlin Bird ID

Birds are all around us, but for many of us, the names of these birds are unknown. Almost everyone can tell a goose from a grackle, but what about a swift from a swallow? Or who can tell one type of crow from the next?

Identifying birds is helpful in birding. Many people who like birding try to see as many different bird species as they can. Bird identification is also helpful if you have a bird control problem. Knowing what kind of bird you’re dealing with can help you pick the best bird control method to use.

Today, there are apps available that can help you in identifying birds. Merlin Bird ID, developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is one of these apps. Merlin Bird ID is available on the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store. It is free to download although it does require you to make an account.

Once you open an account, the next step is to download the bird pack for your region of the world. I downloaded, for instance, birds of Northeast North America. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to use the app.

There are three methods to identify birds on Merlin Bird ID: identification by a series of questions, identification by photo, or by a sound recording AviAway’s website.

The first method of identifying birds is through a series of questions.

Click Start Bird ID and the app will ask, Where did you see the bird? You can choose your current location or pick a location on the map.

The next question is, When did you see the bird? Here just answer the date you saw it.

The third question is, What size was the bird? Sizes range from small, sparrow-sized to large, goose-sized birds.

The fourth question is, What were the main colors? A series of colors are shown and you can pick up to three.

The last question asks what the bird was doing, with options like Eating at a feeder or On the ground.

After answering the questions a list of birds will appear. Each bird has a photo, the name of the bird, and a description. The list is detailed and it displays a number of possible birds. In all likelihood, your bird is on here. Merlin Bird ID gets its data from eBird, an app that birders use to identify which birds they see and where.

There are two other options for bird identification on Merlin Bird ID. The first is identification through a photo.

For this option, take a photo of the bird you see or upload one from your phone. The app will process the photo and then bring up a list of possible birds, the same as the list if you answer the questions.

A similar option is available for sound recordings. Record the sound of your bird or upload one from your phone and you will receive a list of possible birds from Merlin Bird ID.

There you have it. Hopefully, with one of these methods, you have identified your bird. If you are identifying the bird for bird control purposes, you can check out AviAway’s website for detailed information on dealing with each bird species.

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