The Magic of Merlin
Although I grew up with a bird in the house (a gray cockatiel named Salsa) I could not tell you the difference between a cockatiel chirp and most other birds. Maybe because I grew up in the city and most of my experience with birds consisted of pigeons and the occasional woodpecker.
Now, with a forest not too far from my house and a neighborhood filled with trees, I hear more birds than ever. Someone recommended an app called Merlin to identify bird sounds.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology created Merlin to help people identify birds. It offers help when you can see a bird and when you can’t. It’s a great app for bird watchers (which I am not) and for people like me who just want to know what bird they are listening to.
Once you download the app, it’s easy. You select Sound ID and the app will compare the sounds it hears to the recordings of different birds in your area and then offer possible results. If there are multiple birds in the background, Merlin can identify all of them, even if they are not particularly close by. After using Merlin for over a year, I can now recognize at least of the bird calls I hear including…. I will never be an expert bird watcher (or listener) but I am happy to keep learning just a little bit about the birds in my area when the opportunity presents itself.
Interested in learning what the name of a bird is that you hear? Check out Merlin here.
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As a keen birder I've been using this app for a while here in Goa, India. While i can identify most of the calls from memory i play the calls and the recordings actually draw many of the birds closer out of curiosity !