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Merlin Bird ID – identify that feathered friend with just a photo

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We’ve talked about the Merlin Bird ID app before but I’m bringing it back up because a new update allows it to do EXACTLY what we’ve always wanted. It can now ID a bird from a picture.

The Merlin Bird ID app is part of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology which seeks to identify and preserve nature’s feathered friends in North America. Most of us can identify your common robins, sparrows, gulls, etc but the ones that a bit rarer are more of a mystery to the untrained eye.

Now all you need to do is snap a clear picture of the bird and the app will compare it to the database. It uses information from the picture as well as location and seasonal data to tell you what you are looking at. Though not perfect, provided you get a good picture, the app has a 90% success rate. You can also upload pictures from better cameras, because getting close enough to a bird to capture something on your smartphone is pretty difficult. Merlin Bird ID is free.

Donyae’s love for technology is based on a need to survive our future robotic overlords. Know thy enemy as you know yourself. But since even odds are on the zombie future, she has also learned how to prepare squirrel. You can find her on Facebook until the robots – or zombies – rise up.

Donyae Coles – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.


  • sonia morrow

    Dosen’t work for G Britian.

    • Donyae Coles

      Yes, unfortunately it’s for N. American birds. But! If you are interested in the natural world, iNaturalist is, I believe, an international community.

      • sonia morrow

        Thank you kindly or your response and tip Donyae.

        • Donyae Coles

          You are very welcome :)

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