Considering the usefulness of ‘Chirp! Bird Song USA +’ a price of $3.99 is reasonable. Produced by nature specialists, iSpiny, this app is accessible on apple products (iPhone, iPod, & iPad). General features include listening to bird calls/ songs, bird song quizzes, and a slideshow feature. ‘Chirp!’ gives easy access to over 300 bird songs and calls from throughout North America. Birdcalls are advertised to be up to 34 seconds long. This app has notable credibility considering that it gets its birdcalls from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
One of the major challenges I face when birding is hearing many birds but not recognizing their sounds. This app allows me to quickly search for bird calls and see if I can find a match with what I heard in nature.The first step is finding your location to set up a bird list of local birds in your region.
Easy to use for Beginner and Experienced Birders
While useful for all birders, Chirp! is more specifically designed for beginner birders helping them to learn to identify various bird songs and calls. The main feature, ‘listen’ allows for easy navigation in being able to choose settings such as song style and bird group. Useful for beginner birders this feature is also able to sort birds from most common to least common. Other features: the slideshow feature allows you to choose different birds for you to get familiar with and the quiz feature gives you a chance to see how well you’ve mastered different birdcalls.
Being more oriented towards beginner birders, this app offers limited information about each bird. Even so, the descriptions of the birdcall and general geographical information are still useful. More information on the birds is offered through hyperlinks to Cornell and Wiki pages. One limitation to this, though, is that this requires Wi-Fi and thus is not a feature that can be used while birding (for iPads & iPods)
Nevertheless, the app can be useful for more experienced birders as well as ornithologists. The various birdcalls in this app can be used for calling birds towards you when you are out in nature. I can personally attest that this works, especially with perching birds.
Looking at the quiz feature, birders can improve their competency by taking harder and harder quizzes. Thus, both beginners and the experienced can benefit from the three difficulty levels and custom option.
Criticism and Pitch
While all features are useful, I would say that the slideshow feature is my least used feature. The app description states that this feature can be used to choose birds and their bird songs, then let it play through each slide. While listening to these calls can be hands free, personally, I learn better seeing a picture of the bird when hearing the call.
As a testament to its practicality when birding and to its usefulness in improving my birdcall repertoire, I would recommend buying this app to any birder who struggles with identifying birds by sound.