John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Merlin bird ID app

When I started kayaking I quickly began to search for a way to get a camera into the boat safely. I came up with a way and quickly started to take some amazing pictures of nature, up close and personal. I was quickly astonished by the number of, and beauty of BIRDS. I know right … Who knew. All this beauty has been all around me and I’ve been oblivious. I found a fabulous forum on facebook Ontario birds. There are some incredibly talented, knowledgeable birders out there, and some of them have spent a small fortune on equipment. Knowing exactly what bird you are looking at is interesting but can take a long time to learn given the number of species even in a small area. I had seen this app, Merlin Bird ID for the iPhone referred to so I had a look. When I first downloaded it I was underwhelmed. The “start bird id” section of the app asks some basic questions and then guesses what you might have seen … yawwwwwwn. Well then, I must be missing something, well I was. You can download a database or birds in your area to your phone, take a picture, and then have Merlin do intelligent recognition on the bird and recommend what it might have been. If there are a few different choices you can scroll through some pics to help narrow it. The app even has different pictures for juvenile, breading, molting etc. So I delved into how to use it and thought I’d pass it along to yall!

First up install the app Merlin Bird ID . Then click on the 4 green bars in the top left hand side of the screen, then click Bird packs:

from there you choose to download the bird packs in your area. As you can see these are fairly large so download them on WIFI and do them before you need to use Merlin. These packs also get updated from time to time.

You will now see a new option appear within the app, photoid.

Click on the picture you want to id and zoom it in so the bird fills the box.

From here you will get asked when/where the picture was taken. This is used to narrow the search. The date will get taken from the picture but you can edit it manually if need be.

And low and behold Merlin gives you what it thinks it is. Shockingly it seems to be pretty darn accurate. Wow, impressive!

So what’s missing? Well it would be really cool if the app, or the portal kept a database of what you had IDd on the app, similar to the way that Shazaam keeps a database of songs you’ve id’d … Can’t think of much else. It just works.

October 11, 2018 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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