Peterson Birds – A Field Guide to Birds of North America

Total Score:  29

Perhaps the best known name in Bird Watching is Roger Tory Peterson.  Peterson Birds—A Field Guide to Birds of North America for iPhone and iPad is easy to use and a great start for new birdwatchers. This app allows you to quickly identify birds you see through illustrations.  You can read about them, see a map of their habit and upload your photos.  And, of course, build a life list of bird sightings.   Over 50 million people enjoy this sport – give it a try.

Price Rating = 5     $9.99.   It is a featured-filled app and worth the money.  Remember, if you aren’t paying for an app – you are the product.

Ease of Use Rating = 5     Simple icons make it easy to use.

 Readability Rating = 5      You start out by choosing an image which is icon size, then move to larger images.  The icons at the bottom are small, but standard iPhone size.   On an iPad the images are perfectly sized.

 Will You Use It Rating = 5     You will if you are a birder or if you just want to identify a bird you see.

 Downsides Rating = 0     I haven’t found any downsides, but this is more for identification rather than capturing sightings.  It does have an option for keeping a list, but is not as full featured as birdwatchers diary.

  Consumer Review Rating = 4     There are close to 300 ratings and they are primarily positive.

 Why Do You Need This App Rating = 5      You will find this helpful if you are a birder.  If you are not, you may just enjoy the beauty of birds and want to know the name of the one you are watching.  This app will help you do that.

How does it work? 

  1. When you open to the HOME screen you see icon size types of birds.   You scroll down to get more and more types.   Tap on your choice to get more information.  On an iPad, when you select a bird type you see the descriptions on the left size and images on the right (when in landscape).
  2. The first thing you see is pictures of the birds in the category you selected.  You will see four to six birds on each screen.  You can swipe left to see more in the category.
  3. You will notice that the icons at the bottom changed.  Starting from the left, the first, a LIST, provides information about the birds in the category you selected.   Tapping the arrow at the top left returns you to the screen with bird images.
  4. The next icon is an up ARROW.  It adds names beside the photos of the birds.  You can tap it off or on.
  5. The COMPASS icon shows you the range of the bird you selected.  That will help confirm you have selected the correct image.
  6. The BINOCULARS icon brings up a screen to allow you to add the bird to your list of sightings.  You can add the count (how many you saw), the date and time, the place, the weather, notes and how confident you are that you have the right bird.  Tapping SAVE at the top right will save this bird to your list.   This is a little tricky.  It saves here, but when you look at the LIST icon you would think it should appear there but it doesn’t.  Read on to see where it does appear.
  7. The icon that looks like a PHOTO brings up images of the bird and allows you to upload your photo of the bird.    At this point new icons show up.  Some are similar to before.  The COMPASS shows you the range.  A small BIRD shows you what the eggs look like, a NOTE brings up some quick facts about the bird and a LIST icon shows you similar birds.   Tapping the SOUND icon on the right plays their sound.  Tapping the ARROW icon at the top left returns you to the category.
  8. Going back to the HOME screen we can explore the other icons.  The INDEX icon brings up a list of birds by groups, taxonomy, species and a quick find option.
  9. The LISTS icon is where you find your sightings.  You can see them by species, place and date.  You can also send your list via email in a comma delimited list.  The icon for that is at the top right.
  10. The SEARCH icon allows you to search birds by the state, month, type, habitat, order, nest location, nest type, nest material, and various egg characteristics.
  11. The MORE icon takes you to additional information about birds.  Things like feeder food and types, plants to attract birds and when to feed.   There are also ABA principles of birding ethics and many more articles.

Peterson’s Birds app does have a lot of features.  You certainly get value for your money.  All and all a fun app.  Give it a try and start creating your list of birds.

Devices:  This app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.  The app is optimized for iPhone 5.   Requires iOS 5.1 or later.   The app was developed by Appweavers, Inc.  See more about the app at Peterson’s website.

Peterson Birds - iPad Pix1 Peterson Birds - iPad Pix2 Peterson Birds - iPhone - Pix1 Peterson Birds - iPhone - Pix2


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