Cornell, Apple, and the Birds

This was the monthly info sheet sent to me from the fine folks at Cornell, as always some very interesting info.

Charlottesville, VA & Ithaca, NY—“BirdsEye is the best invention for birding since binoculars,” says Kenn Kaufman, renowned birder, author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America and team member of a partnership that has created BirdsEye, a new birding app for the iPhone® and iPod touch®. “It’s like having thousands of local birding experts in your pocket,” Kaufman says. The application was developed by Birds in the Hand, LLC, of Virginia, and brings together content from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, theAcademy of Natural Sciences, and Kaufman. BirdsEye is now available on the App Store

If you are in search of a particular bird, BirdsEye will show you where it has been observed, and even give you directions. If you are new to birding or an experienced birder who is on the road, BirdsEye will give you a list of birds seen nearby and a map of birding hotspots for any location in North America (the contiguous 48 states, Canada, and Alaska). The application includes images and audio for the 470 species most frequently observed in North America. Additional content is available for more elusive birds—for a total of 847 species. Bird sounds come from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library archive, the largest collection of bird and animal sounds in the world. Images are from the VIREO collection at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Acclaimed birder and author Kenn Kaufman wrote text for each species account—with a specific goal in mind.

“Even when you’re in the right location, it helps to know something about the bird’s behavior and habitat in order to find it,” says Kaufman. “Will you find this bird in flocks up in the treetops, or solitary individuals lurking in the thickets? Are you likely to hear it before you see it? I wrote each of these short accounts as if I were giving advice to a friend who was hoping to see this bird for the first time.”

BirdsEye provides real-time access to bird observations submitted to the eBird database at the Cornell Lab. eBird, a joint project of the Cornell Lab and Audubon, receives 1.5 to 2 million bird observation reports each month from birders all over North America. Ability to submit observations to eBird directly from BirdsEye is already in the planning stage.

“It’s amazing to have instant access to all the birds reported to eBird within a 30-mile radius of your location,” says eBird co-leader Brian Sullivan at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “Anyone can step off a plane, turn on their iPhone or iPod touch to see what’s been reported, target the locations showing the best birding potential, and head into the field!”

“Our goal is to give people more great birding opportunities,” says Todd Koym, leader of the programming team and the person who first envisioned the power of building an iPhone app based on eBird. “BirdsEye is a means to an end–with the end being seeing more birds.”

Team member Pete Myers, former senior vice president for Science at the National Audubon Society, as well as a former Audubon board member, says, “BirdsEye combines iPhone ease and elegance with some of the most trusted and authoritative names in birding, helping make everyone’s birding experience richer and more fun. Experienced birders get a quick heads-up about opportunities to add birds to their life list. Beginning birders can quickly discover nearby hotspots to go birding.”

Portions of BirdsEye sales go back to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to help support its research, education, and citizen science projects focused on birds, and to the Academy of Natural Sciences to support VIREO, the world’s largest collection of bird photographs.

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