When you think of the sounds of the Blue Ridge, what comes to mind?
There’s the whispers of the wind in the trees, the roars of rushing waters, the crunching of leaves under your hiking boots, but nothing quite compares to the sounds of wildlife within the woods. Time spent outdoors is time spent in a concert of the tunes created by many different types of birds. From the beautiful melodies of the birds at grandma’s house to the annoying ones that haunt you on your lunch breaks, do you ever wonder what unique bird is serenading you? Now you don’t have to wonder as, like most things, there’s an app for that!
New to Apple’s App Store, Song Sleuth is the convergence of science and art that can be used by anyone from beginner to veteran bird watchers and has created a buzz amongst outdoor resources such as Sierra Magazine and Tree Hugger.
In a similar fashion of the apps that can listen and tell you what song is playing on the radio, Song Sleuth is capable of listening to a birdsong and reporting back to you the type of bird you are likely hearing. Created by Wildlife Acoustics, Song Sleuth is not the only birdsong recognition app to hit the market, but it is the first to have an extensive library of nearly 200 popular North American species of birds.
The company joined forces with world-renowned ornithologist David Sibley to develop the app. Sibley is the author of one of North America’s top comprehensive guides in the field of birdwatching. Amongst the features of Song Sleuth are original illustrations by Sibley, seasonal range maps, and specific information on each bird species. Creating a full learning experience for the ears and the eyes, Song Sleuth even provides its users with spectrograms, which are color coded levels of sound that helps to differentiate similar sounding birdsongs. For particular birds found in specific places, the app gives you the capability to keep track of what birds you found where on a map.
Working the app is simple. In a process that takes just seconds, the user can record the chirps, the app will then suggest the top three birds that are likely to have produced the tune and it has reference clips you can play to compare what the type of bird sounds like with what you are hearing live.
Song Sleuth is a unique example of how you can connect to the outdoors without having years of experience in a niche field like birdwatching. With a 21st century take on birdwatching, Wildlife Acoustics is currently offering the app for apple products with an expected release for an android compatible version this fall. The technology to make this app possible took 12 years to perfect, and can be at your fingertips for the current app charge of $9.99. To read more on how the app performs in the field, check out the feedback from The National Audubon Society, a society dedicated to the protection of birds, who put it to the test.