Saturday, November 17, 2012

Birding App Survey - Part 1 - Results

I'm conducting a series of short surveys related to birding apps. Part one has had over 60 respondents already - Thank you! Below is a quick summary that I hope you will find useful in determining which birding apps you might consider purchasing and using.

When asked "Which apps do you have?" respondents said:
This graph represents the percentage of survey respondents that have the listed apps on their device.
iBird, Audubon Birds, Sibley Birds, Peterson, and BirdLog appear to be the top five most purchased birding apps.

Next we asked, "Which apps do you use most often?" Here's what birders say...
Sibley Birds and iBird tie for being the most used apps by respondents. Followed by a tie between BirdLog and Audubon Birds. Birdseye rounded out the top five most frequently used apps. BirdLog is an app used for submitting eBird checklists made by the same creators of Birdseye, which is used mostly to locate birds using eBird data, but also has elements of being a digital field guide. While the Peterson app is the fourth most owned app, it ranks sixth in how often it gets used.

To narrow it down a bit more and focusing on the apps that are, or have major elements of, a digital field guide, we asked "Which birding field guide app is your one 'go-to' app?" Here's what we learned...
Sibley Birds is the most regarded as birder's "go-to" field guide app, followed closely by iBird.

Finally, we asked an open-ended question: "Which birding apps are your favorites and why?" Here are the responses...
  • Birdlog - real-time uploading of field data! 
  • I love BirdLog because I can convenient submit my eBird checklists from the field. Sibley is usually the app I open up first for bird identification. When I want to show non-birding friends and family a bird, I usually go to Audubon Birds. 
  • Either Sibley or Audubon -- I can't make up my mind between the two. They each have pluses and minuses. Perhaps with more frequent use, I will figure out which one I like better.
  • I have BirdJam. Without the app, supplemented with a few birds that are not on the Stokes recording - all Red-crossbill types, Cackling Goose, + frogs and toads of Iowa. I probably go to that more than the apps 
  • Sibley I use mostly to show other people. Peterson rarely [I may take it off for space reasons] BirdLog I use on trips. I also use MapMyDOGWalk to map where I go -- it is free and does great job, plus downloads KLM files for GoogleEarth"
  • I only have one, but I think it's a great tool for bird identification (audio and visual) and for learning about birds.
  • Birdlog is fantastic. It makes keeping checklists and uploading to ebird a snap! I like ibird for the playback and Audubon for ID.
  • Audubon Birds and iBird Pro, I use them both about 50/50
  • BirdLog NA for counting birds for eBird entry. iBirdPro for quick comparisons of similar species, especially when I need calls quickly. Sibley for most in-depth ID issues. I find that using Birdlog and a field guide app at the same time eats battery life and if I am out for hours it can be an issue. Hoping to get a smartphone for Birdlog and use my iPod for guides/sounds.
  • Birdwatcher's Diary. A powerful full-featured app that never fails. 
  • iBird Pro. I like having both portraits and photos. There are enough vocalizations to satisfy. 
  • Birdseye. For traveling or even deciding where to go for a day of birding locally this can't be beat. BirdLog. Very elegant interface, works great for birding in a single location for a day. 
  • The convenience of posting stuff to ebird from my phone is helpful, and Larkwire is indispensible. As far as guides go, while Audubon is a better-built, more frequently updated, and better organized app, I still rely primarily on SIbley because the guide itself is superior even if the app is very difficult to navigate. 
  • I probably like iBird and use it most often because I use it to look up birds I already know to listen to their call or check their range map or look to see what the collective nouns for that species are. I must say that I really haven't used the others enough to compare. Now that you bring this up, I am looking at the Audubon Guide and it looks much more comprehensive ;-) 
  • I prefer Audubon because it combines eBird sighting data with species descriptions and numerous song/call recordings. I like BirdLog for longer birding trips so I won't forget what I saw. 
  • Peterson for its massive database, sounds, and useful filters and lists. Birdlog because it's way easier than inputting eBird data at home. My notebook is getting lonely!
  • i dont like audubon for kindle fire, wish i had sibley instead 
  • I've used iBird the longest, but am using Audubon more and more. 
  • Sibley has more variations of age, sex, etc. 
  • iBird is my favorite, in comparison to Peterson's. Top reasons: 1. being able to browse directly from the opening window when you start the app, 2. being able to play all of the bird calls (this is huge for me; I've used iBird to learn all my bird calls), 3. pictures instead of illustrations (I enjoy the illustrations, and would prefer both, but if I have to chose between the two I would want pictures). 
  • I only have one bird app (iBird) on my phone and I am very happy with it. I like to keep things simple. 
  • I have to say Audubon Birds is definitely my favorite because it's so dynamic and easy to navigate. It's upgraded regularly and new/helpful features are constantly added, unlike other apps like iBird. 
  • I love the Sibley app because of the amount of songs and calls. It is also my favorite style of field guide artwork. 
  • Birdlog is the best because it allows quick and easy entry to eBird.
  • Birdings apps still have not taken advantage of the digital technology available to them. But then, the downward pricing pressure (free or $.99) for excellent content is ridiculous. In any case, I don't like the online field guides so mainly rely on BirdEye to find birds, and birdJam to learn bird songs.
  • Bird log would definitly be my favourite. Having the ability to enter eBird sightings in the field is a huge time saver and my counts are more accurate.
  • Sibley: I like the clean functionality of Sibley and the fact I can quickly get to the bird I am interested in. It never glitches and works very smoothly. I like how easy it is to make the range map or bird illustrations full screen and the audio being right there is great when I am showing a new birder a specific bird. 
  • BirdTunes: This app is unapologetic about its lack of flash but is the most complete collection of bird sounds, both songs and calls, and is amazingly easy to use. 
  • BirdLog: This app still has some issues with bugs and can be difficult to use but I love being able to create eBird lists in real time while birding
  • BirdEye - finding birds while out birding; BirdLog - keeping track of sightings; iBird - Lots of info in the field guide
  • I love iBird Pro. I bought Audubon Birds and downloaded it two separate times on my Samsung smart phone, but both times I immediately started having trouble with my phone, in the forms of delays and glitches. When I uninstall Audubon Birds, the problems go away. I haven't tried any of the others. Will be curious to see the results of the survey to know which others use. 
  • Sibley. Best illustrations, text, maps and sounds. 
  • BirdTunes: most extensive listing and presentation of bird songs helps with identification;; also shows photo of bird
As I read through the comments, I can see that there are occasional misunderstandings about certain apps and their capabilities. I can just see app developers cringing upon reading them. I think it is helpful for app developers to see these comments and rankings as it may assist them in marketing strategies and in overcoming incorrect perceptions of their products.

Click here to participate in Part 2 of the Birding App Survey at!

1 comment:

  1. I want to thank you for this informative article. I really appreciate sharing this great post. Keep up your work.

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