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Tried a new use on a birding app

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Old Monday 2nd July 2018, 21:49   #1
heeza loon
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Tried a new use on a birding app

As a NEWBIE I've bought some field guides (National Geographic + Sublet) and though I like them they put me in "Information Overload". I tried a smaller one for my location, Peterson Field Guide for Western North America but still had overload. Then a few more to make it even simpler and more focused...Birds of California, then Birds of Southern California, then more even simpler.

Then I got 2 free apps from Audubon...1. Audubon Birds and Audubon Birds California. In the California version you could type in a bird and it would tell which places it was seen in and if you listed that place it would list all the birds that were noted there on that day.

I picked a place, wrote down all the bird seen there, then looked up each bird and steadied them then listened to the songs they included in the apps. After a couple days of study I went there and (whereas before I had bird blindness and couldn't see a bird anywhere) all of a sudden I could see birds everywhere AND identified some by their song.

I pick another place to try it again. It worked AGAIN.

Of course this isn't for everyone but if you're a newbie that's "wired" like me, it might help. All of a sudden, I feel cocky now! I wait for somebody to ask, what kind of bird is that? I try to answer in such a way that they'll have no idea that I'm still a newbie!
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Old Monday 2nd July 2018, 21:52   #2
KC Foggin
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You want a simple and free bird app, try Cornell's "Merlin Bird ID" At least it was free when I downloaded it.
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Old Monday 2nd July 2018, 23:50   #3
heeza loon
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Actually, I have Merlin but it only list the birds and their general location on on a United States map whereas the Audubon apps list the town near you where the "hot spots" are, what's been seen there and what time they were seen. An example would be Torrance, CA, at Madronna Marsh Preserve or Long Beach, CA at Bluff Park instead of somewhere up and down the coast from Mexico to Canada. I can instead plan on where I want to go specifically and see exactly what's been reported AND what those birds sounds like.
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Old Tuesday 3rd July 2018, 00:25   #4
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Okay, I understand your thinking
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Old Tuesday 3rd July 2018, 01:56   #5
heeza loon
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I've enjoyed the field guides a lot but they've been useless to me out in the field. As a newbie I'm at some place, I see yet another bird that I don't know the name of so I grab the field guide and it takes me a bit just to get to the right section and when I'm close it always seems like the bird is long gone so I leave it in my car to check out later. I've been trying out the bird apps I mentioned and I get an idea of the birds that I'll run into (by reading the past reports and sightings). There's still birds that I don't know but using the apps has helped my about 70% of the time instead of trying to look up each bird that I see. I tried using the phone apps to look up the birds but even with those the birds are gone before I can get an I.D. so I figured, "why no look the up BEFORE I go" For Me it's been working. Thanks for your reply KC Foggin.
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Old Wednesday 4th July 2018, 17:59   #6
heeza loon
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Again... I tried something new (well, for me it's new...don't forget...I'm a real newbie!)
1. I used the Audubon app and selected a place (Alondra Park Reservoir)
2. I looked up the birds that have been seen there recently (just the ones I didn't know by name yet which is most of them)
3. This time I put Post-It tags on top of the pages like book marks
4. At Alondra, I took my binos AND the Peterson Field Guide (in an over-the-shoulder knapsack sack) (and a belt canteen of water and 2 powerbars)
5. When I spotted a bird and 'glassed' it, I was able to find it unbelievably FAST, well... a LOT faster than before in the Peterson. Most of the birds were on the left side of the guide (birds in or around water) and the others were closer to the right side (like crows, sparrows, and mocking birds).
Anyway, it helped me learn my guide quite a bit (so as NOT to have to search EACH page through birds not there and refined my search to birds MOST LIKELY to e there. As a newbie it's still a huge learning process...I can't wait to get the experience like the Regulars on the site. I'm 68...I'm looking forward to seeing how many I can learn by 69!
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Old Friday 13th July 2018, 17:38   #7
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No matter what kind of field guide you use, as you discovered by yourself, studying it in advance is the key. It is even better when you can get precise information about what birds are likely to be in particular location in a certain time of the year. Congratulations to you for having found this approach on your own and locating the proper apps that made it feasible for you!
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