“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.