Birding Web Sites, Apps, and Audio CDs

Birding Web Sites

Male Northern Shoveler at the Brooklyn Park Environmental Area

On the Minnesota Ornithologists Union (MOU) web site, you can get checklists, sign up for bird alerts, learn about upcoming events, see photos of recently seen birds in Minnesota, and more.

Whatbird.com is a search engine for identifying North American birds.
It presents a visual interface made up of icons for the field marks. There are icons for colors, shape, family and much more. Each visual selection step narrows the search results to help locate the bird you saw. The database has over 900 birds, each having a magnificent hand painted illustration, songs and or calls that you can listen to, and extensive species accounts.

All About Birds is an online guide to birds and birding.
Bird info includes overview, ID info, life history, maps, and sounds,
Compare selected bird with similar species. Audio does not include spectrograms.

eBird transforms your bird sightings into science and conservation. Plan trips, find birds, track your lists, get bird alerts by county, explore range maps and bird migration—all free. Uses same photos and sounds as All About Birds, and has links to more of each.Scarlet Tanager
Explore Species
Maps, stats, photos, and sounds for any bird in the world, including personalized stats based on your eBirding. Audio includes spectrograms.
Explore Regions
Recent sightings, checklists, birding activity, best hotspots, and top birders for a county, state, province, or country.

Audubon’s online Guide to North American Birds covers over 800 North American species. Explore descriptions, photos, range maps and bird songs.

The Macaulay Library is the world’s premier scientific archive of natural history audio, video, and photographs. Many of the web sites and apps listed here use photos and sounds from this site.

At the Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds web site, you can listen to all the sounds in the books by Nathan Pieplow, plus thousands more bonus recordings. The songs and calls are from the Macaulay Library, and show spectrograms as you play them.

Xeno-cantoYellow-bellied sapsucker is a web site dedicated to sharing bird sounds from all over the world. Whether you are a research scientist, a birder, or simply curious about a sound that you heard out your kitchen window, they invite you to listen, download, and explore the bird sound recordings in the collection.

But xeno-canto is more than just a collection of recordings. It is also a collaborative project. They invite you to share your own bird recordings, help identify mystery recordings, or share your expertise in their forums.

Donald Kroodsma’s book, Listening to a Continent Sing, has a companion web site that includes 381 annotated recordings that the author made on a ten-week, ten-state cross-country bicycle trip. He indicates what to listen for in the recordings and at what time in the recording it occurs. He also lists other sounds heard in the background.

The Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley is home to many birds. If you want to go even farther out of your back yard, you can go to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and visit the National Aviary, which is America’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated to birds.

Apps

The free Merlin Bird ID app from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology uses powerful AI to identify birds in your photos, or to identify them based on your answers to a few quick questions. Covers 2,000+ species.


The free Audubon Bird Guide is a complete field guide for all experience levels to over 800 species of North American birds. It will help you find and identify the birds around you, and keep track of the birds you’ve seen.


iBird Ultimate Guide to Birds presents 938 species with comprehensive identification, behavior, habitat and ecology information, hand-drawn illustrations, professional photographs, range maps, and playable calls. There are several cheaper versions of iBird with fewer features, including a free version.


Northern FlickerSibley Birds v2 app, the most popular, most comprehensive, and fastest-selling printed field guide to North American birds – is now available in digital form as an app for several mobile phone platforms. It contains the entire content of the Sibley Guide to Birds – over 6600 images, every word of text, 800 range maps – along with the songs and calls of nearly every species.


Peterson Birds is a powerful app that draws from eight Peterson Field Guide titles and is based on thousands of hours of observation in the field by more than ten expert authors and illustrators. Compare multiple birds on the same screen. Bird Finder creates lists for counties, provinces, and hotspots in North America. You can try the free version of Peterson Bird Field Guide (iOS) or Peterson Birds North America (Android) before deciding to upgrade to the full version.


The Warbler Guide is designed to help you identify warblers that you are seeing, hearing or both. Compare 3d models of two different warblers viewed at any angle. Play a variety of songs and calls.


Birds Near Me (for iOS) helps you find what birds are near you anywhere in the world or to find pictures, songs, locations and information about any bird in the world. It’s powered by eBird to provide an accurate list of birds that have been recently spotted in your exact area.


GoBird – Guide to Nearby BirdsiOSAndroid
Discover and identify birds around you, for free, anywhere in the world.

  • Find the best bird watching hotspots
  • List rare bird sightings in your area
  • Map where a particular species has been spotted
  • Hi-res photos of 10,000+ world birds help make that tricky identification
  • 150,000 bird call and song recordings covering 8,600+ species

Created with love by a birder, for birders. This is the newest birding app, focused on a fast and simple interface to eBird, the most comprehensive bird sighting database in the world.


Use the free Raptor ID from HawkWatch International to help you learn how to identify harriers, kites, hawks, falcons, eagles, ospreys, vultures, and condors.


Rich Hoeg’s Minnesota Birding News Service is a free service without advertisements that automatically provides updates to the user from the top Minnesota and American birding web sites and organizations. 

Audio CDs

Peterson Birding-By-Ear Eastern Peterson More Birding-By-Ear Eastern

Peterson Field Guides publishes the Audio CD sets Birding by Ear and
More Birding by Ear for Eastern and Central North America. They also have a Western version.

Birds with similar-sounding songs are grouped together: Mimics, Whistlers, Chippers and Trillers, High-Pitchers, Name-Sayers, Simple and Complex Vocalizations, etc.

Each of these is a three-CD set. The first set has 85 species and the second has 96. The third CD has tests organized by habitats.

The narrator identifies specific “vocal field marks” for individual vocalizations. Learn that rhythm, pitch, cadence, and repeating patterns are just as important (sometimes more so) for identifying bird species as the actual melody. Phonetic representations, mnemonics, and descriptive characteristics are discussed where applicable.


Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs: Eastern Region contains three CDs covering songs and calls of 372 species found in the eastern US.

Included in the set is a guide booklet listing each species along with phonetic and mnemonic representations.

 

Anoka County Library and Hennepin County Library both have it.


Birds of Minnnesota CDs

Minnesota naturalist and photographer Stan Tekiela wrote a book called Birds of Minnesota: Field Guide.

The second edition of the book has a companion CD set, Birds of Minnesota Audio CDs, with songs and calls in the same order that the birds appear in the book.

With this two-CD set, you can listen to the amazing songs of 110 common birds of Minnesota. Use the CDs alone, or pair them with the Birds of Minnesota Field Guide. The recordings are in the same order as the 2nd edition of the field guide, and the included 36-page booklet has an index that’s cross-referenced to the book.

 

 

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