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Field guides in the future (1 Viewer)

Had.enough

Registered User
Supporter
It's funny you mention that.
Last weekend I made a point of going on a long dog walk, with binoculars.
A couple, birdwatching, called over to me asking "are you birdwatching? Or ebirding?"
I was actually posting a sparrowhawk in ebird as they spoke, so joyously shouted back "I'm ebirding!" (Thinking, why did I say that!). They replied, "so are we". Presumably they set off on their walk looking at my freshly posted checklist. This wasn't a reserve or anywhere particularly bird rich. So we are all becoming humanoid ebirders!
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
I would think sound analysis software would be especially useful for sorting out the crossbill types. I don't know if I would want to use it for general birding though. At some point if everthing become too automated, where is the fun in actually going out?
 

Had.enough

Registered User
Supporter
I would think sound analysis software would be especially useful for sorting out the crossbill types. I don't know if I would want to use it for general birding though. At some point if everthing become too automated, where is the fun in actually going out?
It could be just like real time twitching... "There is a Treecreeper within earshot", if birdnet was to be believed this morning. (I didn't see one. I didn't hear one either!)
 

jurek

Well-known member
You realised I was talking about visual? Like the Merlin App etc in real time. Could probably zoom in and id things at further range than a human ... knowledge, probabilities, jizz etc

Ah. However I also tried Merlin app with some online photos. Simple colorful birds like a swimming Shelduck on blue water - ok. Brown birds were hopelessly poor. A Chiffchaff photo returned all small warblers as possibilities. An unsharp photo of a bird hidden behind several grass stems - Merlin could not find the bird at all.

I guess the problem is the same - somebody did not point any clues to software, and hoped it develops everything by itself. And the software reached its limit. It could be better done with more structured learning. First, a software looking for bird shape. This works quite well, even humorously well*. Field marks could be lifted from bird identification books, which is quite easy text processing. Once the image would be divided into bill, head, wing coverts etc., these could be matched to colors and patterns. Such a program is absolutely within current technology.

Such program might be even better than a birder. For example, it could ID birds against the sun and in deep shade. It would ID moving birds as easily as standing birds - for example see a precise pattern of wings of a flying bird. It could measure shape precisely - no problem with eg. raptor silhoulettes. It might even look for precise patterns and find camouflaged bitterns, nightjars and woodcocks.

The main problem is lots of work for little money - birders are not the market the size of e.g. Facebook cat photos.

*https://www.businessinsider.com/the...network-that-was-taught-to-look-for-animals-1
 
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Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
I would think sound analysis software would be especially useful for sorting out the crossbill types. I don't know if I would want to use it for general birding though. At some point if everthing become too automated, where is the fun in actually going out?
We may as well all stay home and tick the birds we see on tv if apps like Merlin, evolve to the point where we don't need to learn anything about ID.
 

jurek

Well-known member
If these automatic methods will really be implemented (but may not be, given for example the cost of their development):
Then many more people would be drawn to birdwatching, because it is easy.
More experienced people would identify birds themselves. Like I often drive using satellite navigation, but to places I know I use memory. Also IDing birds personally would remain a valuable skill, like sale of ready-made meals did not make cooking skills extinct.
I would myself welcome an app where I can point at a plant and ID it. Tell whatever you wish, but I cannot learn all plants in addition to birds.
 

lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
I can just see birding in the future....we will have our 'phones' of course as what else is needed in many cases? We will have cameras (much like Swaro's digital binoculars) installed on our phones as an accessory. We will have our wireless Apple Earbuds in our heads and have our birding app installed on the phone.

We will be walking down a path.

We will point our phone at some movement in a tree or sky, and then listen to the Apple App tell us what we just saw. The app will be connected to e-bird, which will also be connected to a 'digital check-list' so we can keep track of what the phone saw.

Perhaps some refuges could have fake bird icons in place to give the phone a thrill every once in a while as we 'round a bend'. The phone would pick up a bar-code on the fake icon which could then ID the fake bird.

For added enjoyment, some refuges could have 'rent a drone' ....where you can stay in the lounge or coffee shop (outside due to COVID) and the drone will do the 'walking for us'. You can direct the drone via your "phone app' and the drone will fly to where you want it to to locate the birds.

....fun.....
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
I am not sure if I am serious, but there could be a situation where I would want the drone. Being in a tower of a complex wetland, half a mile out there is a little island with something on it that you cannot quite identify using the scope. Send out the drone and take a look to confirm or deny the rarity you are dreaming it might be.

Niels
 

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