“Listen Up”

I have enjoyed watching birds for many years, both in the wild and in front of my kitchen window. I am able to identify a majority that I see, but I have been flummoxed by their songs. No matter how hard I tried to read what a bird sounds like and compare it to one I was listening to, I failed.

Last week Cornell University released a new version of their free phone app, Merlin. In addition to being able to identify a bird from looking at it, the app has added a priceless feature. When you sit near where you hear a bird and turn on the app, it identifies the bird and/or birds that are singing. If it is uncertain, it waits for a bit. When a check mark appears, the app is certain. It then displays a photo of each bird, lighting when it is singing.

I was amazed to learn that I was regularly hearing from a Carolina wren. I could also hear the difference between the house sparrow, the house finch and the song sparrow. A noise that I thought was coming from a blue jay turns out to be coming from a grackle.The app stores the recordings on your phone if you like, so it is possible to listen again and solidify the connection between the sound and the image.

Have I mentioned that this is FREE? Have fun.

23 thoughts on ““Listen Up”

  1. Thanks, I’ll have to check it out. I can identify many of the birds in my garden – especially the regulars. But occasionally one stumps me and this would help. And free is always good!


  2. This is great news, Elizabeth. I identify most birds here, but it’s their sound that has me baffled most of the time. This sounds like a terrific app.


  3. Must get that. We have such a cacophony of birds in our back garden and different ones again when we walk the dogs. Then there’s the forest when we go down to London’s suburbs… Thanks for the info.
    We have a clock that plays birdsong to us on the hour during daylight hours. It’s very useful now that I have trouble deciphering the digital clock on the other side of the bedroom.


  4. Oh my, this sounds fantastic! I have an app which plays birdsong and that helps me but the Merlin app sounds so much better. I’m off to download it and test it out now!


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