iBird Plus 6.1 for iOS devices on sale

To: Alastair Smith <>
Subject: iBird Plus 6.1 for iOS devices on sale
From: David Adams <>
Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2013 15:36:03 +1100
> A contrary view. I was in Washington last year with the iBird app on my
iPhone. All the birders I met
> wrote it off! Apparently 'the' app for North America is Sibley. I
subsequently downloaded the free lite
> version and I can understand why.

Which one is best? Yes ;-) It's a bit like "what's the best field guide for
Australia". (Pizzey, of course!) Fair disclosure: I've only tried iBird in
the field so far but will try out Sibley and iBird side by side later in
the year.

On paper, I'd say that Sibley is the finest field guide on the planet. (I
know a lot of people say that about the Collins Bird's of Europe, but I
can't see it.) Before Sibley, birders in the US all carried the National
Geographic guide, which is also quite good and more compact. It would also
be pretty normal to find American birders with a small box of books in
their car focused on specific families like shorebirds or raptors.

For the apps, Sibley has great plates, lots of illustrations of
intermediate plumages and flight patterns - all excellent. It's also got
first-rate+ sound recordings - better than iBird, when I've compared. (Not
that I thought there was anything wrong with iBird's recordings.) iBird, by
the way, also includes spectrograms for the bird calls. I'll admit I
haven't read up on how to make use of these, but they sure look great. As I
understand it, there's a technique for using to better memorize and recall
bird calls. Even without knowing what exactly they're all about, they're
interesting and you can easily "see" the call. Many of the on-line
recording libraries seem to be heading in the direction of including such
graphs with recordings.

With all of of Sibley's obvious good points acknowledged,  I still find
iBird the better *app*. Sibley (like Morcombe here - the UI is the same) is
a paper field guide that's been turned into an app with the (enormous)
benefit of integrated sound recordings. The iBird app (and the upcoming
Pizzey here, for what I can see) takes advantage of the platform and
integrates photographs, sounds, plates, text and live Web views onto
various resources. I don't care about that last part, but the photographs
are a huge, huge help. For birds that are subtly different, it's great to
have photos and plates.

With the iBird 6.1 release from this week, the plates look like they've had
their quality and resolution bumped up as well.

If possible, I'd get both guides for a trip to North America - ideally for
a screen that's large enough. If someone can't afford these two
apps....perhaps a trip to North America is already out of reach. Although
to be fair, loading another app will make the iWhatever just that much
heavier in your pocket....;-)

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