Choosing between the best birding apps for photographers can be tricky but much like birdwatching, wildlife and bird photography have seen a surge in popularity in recent years with apps to help you on your journey. Bird photography can offer an exciting and rewarding hobby or even a career, but it can be intimidating to get started.
Overview of the Best Birding Apps for Photographers
Bird photography offers a great starting point for newbies. Bird life can be found almost everywhere! For those of you beginning your bird photography journey, try setting up near a bird feeder to learn how to use your camera. Experiment with the settings you’ll need to get sharp images and try your hand at Bird in Flight Photography.
One of the most important, and sometimes overlooked aspects of wildlife or birdwatching photography is getting to know your subject. If you know where your subject hangs out, what it eats and how it behaves, you’ve got a far better change of being in the right place at the right time to get the shot. Equally, the more you know about a species, the more you can consider how to portray its personality and behaviour in a still image.
What to look for in an app for photographers
Trying these apps can offer you useful information about birds and help you get better with photography. These apps have great features to help identify birds from photos, including image recognition software suggesting species ID, and some allow community members to support one another and offer suggestions, like the Birda app.
Arguably, what makes the best birding apps for photographers is having a useful feature to find birds. So much of our time as photographers is taken up by looking for wildlife to photograph, whereas these can help narrow down your search and show you where to spot particular species. Here’s a selection of the best birding apps for photographers:
Undoubtedly one of the best birding apps for photographers is Birda. A free social birdwatching app that differs from the others for having a friendly community at its core. Bird photography can be a bit of a solo pursuit, so it’s refreshing to have an app that includes some community elements to connect you with other like-minded birders.
Birda is all about fun and some of their gamified features include earning badges and taking part in a variety of challenges. These challenges range from species identification to photo-based persuits that help you spend more time in nature – some also include awesome prizes like cameras and lenses.
Why is Birda one of the best birding apps for photographers?
One thing that stands out about Birda is how connected you feel to other bird photographers when using it. The ability to interact with other’s birding photos is a great addition, and a fantastic photography motivator – nothing gets you more excited to go out than seeing other people’s bird photos.
Birda also offers the chance for users to share their bird photography skills with a birding community through feedback sharing on posted photos. Also, If you’ve taken a picture of a bird and you don’t know what it is you can get help, or assist others, with bird identification by using the clever community based Unidentified Species feature. In terms of collating all your bird sightings and photos in one place, with Birda you can log all your sightings as well see where others have sighted birds. Your bird sightings and photos will then create your own personalized “Lifer” lists and “Photographed List”, showing you all the species you’ve taken photographs of.
One huge advantage of Birda is how easy it is to import your pictures from your PC to your sightings through the Birda Web App – Find out more about Birda’s Web App here.
Another big plus for this app is that it’s global. So, if you’re lucky enough to travel looking for birds, you can use the Birda app to help ID species you might not be familiar with. The interactive locations map uses data from over 1 billion sightings records to discover new birding spots. So if you’re on a trip and hoping to get some wildlife snaps while you’re there, Birda can point you in the right direction!
The community is at the centre of Birda, and if you’re keen to share your bird photography with other like-minded birders, Birda is the place for you.
Try Birda, it's FREE
Collin's Bird Guide App
Next is Collin’s bird guide app. Based on the ever popular “Collins Bird Guide”, this app offers a paperless option that retails on the App Store at £14.99. One of the features that makes this app stand out from the rest is the stunning illustrations (of which it boasts over 3,700!). Collins can’t be faulted for detail, and the species specific information on this app is exceptional. It covers range, habitat, identification features and song.
While this app fits the bill as an excellent field guide, it lacks some of the features that make it a useful app for bird photographers. It does have over 1,100 bird calls, but does not have the ability to “listen” to what you’re trying to identify. This means that it’ll be really useful to learn the calls of particular species, or identify retrospectively, but a bit clunky while trying to hone in on an ID “on the move”. While you can log bird sightings in their location, this app is sadly lacking is the ability to find birds that have been logged near you.
Whilst Collin’s Bird Guide App is great for a solo persuit, it does lack a friendly birding community which would allow you to share amongst other bird photographers.
Merlin Bird ID App
Next up, Merlin Bird ID. Powered by eBird, the world’s largest database of bird sightings, sounds and photos, this app is a front runner if you’re after accurate bird identification features.
Powered by Visipedia, this app uses deep learning to identify birds in photos and sound at the touch of a button. As a photographer, this means you can both identify birds in the field, or quickly at home when you’re reviewing your shots. Merlin Bird ID also has a feature to find birds near you, which is even more impressive when you consider that it’s a global app.
Merlin Bird ID is for sure a smart little app that packs a lot of features and lots to offer a bird photographer. Identifying birds easily and quickly The only downside being its actual interface. It’s not as user friendly as you might hope for an app as advanced as this, and you may find it a bit cumbersome when in the field.
When it comes to sharing your sightings with others, Merlin does lack the community feel of Birda. This is a great app for solo birding, but if you’re after connection with other birders like you, Birda might be a better choice.
Finally, onto Audubon. If you’re based in North America, you might have heard of this app. Audubon is free to download and covers over 800 species of North American birds. It packs some pretty smart ID features for your bird photography. Simply enter everything you observed about a bird into the app and Audubon will narrow down a list of possible matches.
This app also offers users the ability to see nearby “birding hotspots”, a useful feature for photographers. Another nice feature of this app is the “photo feed”, which gives users ability to share their bird shots with other users. You can also share your favourite birding spots and keep a log of all the birds you encounter on your photography trips.
Much like Collin’s, Audubon has a good catalogue of bird sounds, but does not have the ability to listen to bird sounds and make an ID suggestion from there. Another caveat is that it only covers birds in the US, so if you’re elsewhere in the world, you’ll want to look elsewhere for your perfect bird photography app.
The birding photography app market is booming and apps are getting smarter with each update. Whether you’re an newbie photographer or a pro, there’s a lot to be gained from having one of the best birding apps for photographers in your back pocket when you’re in the field.