Now this is tweetable

“What’s that bird?” you wonder. Just ask the iPhone:

I’ve been fumbling through my Audubon Society Field Guide to the Birds of California trying to identify all our birds, but it’s hard to match a bird that flitters by to a static small picture. So I bought the most amazing iPhone Application ever. It’s called iBird Explorer. Not only does it let you search for birds by color, size, habitat, flight pattern and similiarity (is it gull-like, eagle-like or wren-like?) but once it finds your bird, it pulls up several pictures as well as the artist’s rendering that you find in most bird books. That’s in addition to a wealth of information on feeding, habitat, behavior, etc.

And does it work better than, say, the expurgated version of Olsen’s Standard Book of British Birds (the one without the gannet)? You betcha:

[B]y far the best feature: it has a function that allows you to hear the actual call of that bird. So loudly, so accurately that the real birds will actually follow you. Believe me, I tried it. Once I identified the little red birds that fly around our barn as Rufous-Crowned Sparrows, I started playing their song. Yup, that was the clincher. Same song. I played it out under the barn eaves and they started swarming me. I wasn’t even wearing red.

This is even cooler, I think, than an iPhone-controlled supercar — unless, of course, you can get other cars to follow you around.


  1. Lisa Paul »

    7 April 2009 · 1:35 am

    Hah. I steal from you. You quote from me. Could it be there is only one blog out there and we’re all alternately contributing to it and referencing it.

  2. fillyjonk »

    7 April 2009 · 6:36 am

    Eventually these applications are going to hit a tipping point where I will HAVE to go and buy an iPhone, as much as I resist such things.

  3. CGHill »

    7 April 2009 · 7:16 am

    Lisa: Actually, I saw that this morning before I’d noticed you’d gone into the Search-Engine Sweep; I had a backlog of three or four items in the can, and well, they all had to wait their turn.

    I used to claim that I had one giant text file, however many gigabytes, and every time I needed a post I’d go in and snag a couple of paragraphs. I quit claiming that after everybody started nodding, “I thought that’s how he did it.”

  4. sya »

    7 April 2009 · 10:02 am

    I know where my tipping point would be. If they come out with some application titled “Calls of Bacteria,” I’ll rush out there to buy one pronto. That way, people will have to stop telling me to sing to my cultures. Bonus if they have “Bacterial Death Screams Due to Bleach.”

  5. fillyjonk »

    7 April 2009 · 11:23 am

    sya: I was going to say something similar for prairie plants. Maybe if they had an app where you could scan a leaf into the thing and have it tell you the species. Or even better, a built-in DNA analyzer that would tell you to a certain percentage certainty what species something was. (which would also be fantastic for doctors…imagine being able to scan a patient’s infection and find out just exactly what bacteria was causing it, and maybe even if it was one of the antibiotic resistant kinds)

  6. Lisa Paul »

    7 April 2009 · 11:58 am

    Or an app that would let you scan meals at restaurants (you know the places that will never divulge their recipes) that would tell you all the ingredients and their proportions. Quick, call Apple.

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