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Review: Songbirds of North America

Drew Weber|

Launch Screen
Launch Screen

Launch Screen

Songbirds of North America
Green Mountain Digital
Get it! $6.99


An email just came through my inbox about a new birding app, Songbirds of North America. Now, in my experience bird apps are being released all the time, but high quality ones that really add something to the existing plethora of field guides, websites and apps already available are rare. Songbirds of North America is a welcome addition to the App Store.

Songbirds of North America is only available for iPad and has been really designed to take advantage of the screen size and look good. The interface is slick, with smooth animations, and good variety of sounds for each of the 220 birds included in the app. The goal of the app is to make it easy to learn some of the more common birds as well as familiarize yourself with their calls. I think that the app nails it with an immersive experience that allows easy browsing as well as bird quizzes to further test your skills.

The quizzes are nice, with the option to be quizzed on images or sounds. The bird song quiz pops up four birds from the grid and plays a song and you try to pick which bird is singing. For better or worse, the app does not stick you with 4 similar sounding species each time, which should make it easier for most folks to get more right. I think this was a good approach rather than frustrating users when they can’t tell grosbeaks, tanagers and robins apart. (The app does let you pick groups of birds so you can quiz yourself on birds that are giving you problems.)The bird photo quiz works similarly, except that it pops up a bird name and you have to select which of the four photographs matches it.

I think this is an excellent buy for a wide range of birders. The limited number of species and focus on passerines lends itself well to those who are just picking up the hobby. I could see this app being a huge hit at nature centers, where people could browse through the app to look for the birds they are seeing at feeders, or while walking the trails. Overall, another hit product from Green Mountain Digital who are the folks behind the Audubon apps that cover Birds, Butterflies, Insects, Trees and several others.

Disclaimer: I did receive a free copy of this app, but all the opinions above are my own.

About the Author

Drew Weber

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Drew is the founder and editor of Nemesis Bird and now works to curate some of the best content the web has to offer on birding and ornithology from an energetic crew of ornithologists, field researchers, tour leaders and photographers. Drew is originally from PA but now lives in central New York where he is enjoying the long and snowy winters. He has done various bird jobs including bird surveys for the 2nd PA Breeding Bird Atlas, tracked saw-whet owls from dusk to dawn with Scott Weidensaul and counted hawks for several years for Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. His master's research at Penn State University focused on grassland birds and their relationships with different agricultural practices. Drew is an avid lister, especially on smaller scales, and enjoys adding new birds to county, state and life lists. A sucker for competitions, he has placed 2nd in the World Series of Birding (with Nemesis Birders Andy McGann and Mike Lanzone) and is the part of the winning team for the Onondaga Audubon Bird-a-thon in Central NY and the Shaver's Creek Birding Cup (2 years running with Nemesis Birder Alex Lamoreaux). He also enjoys digiscoping and making apps for birders. He is project manager for the North American Rare Bird Alert and coordinates the development of BirdsEye and BirdsEye Hotspots. Some topics that really interest him are migration, bird distributions and vagrancy.