12 of the Best Birdwatching Apps in the USA

When it comes to finding the best birdwatching locations, identifying and logging the birds you see, birdwatching apps are an essential part of birdwatching. There are apps for every aspect of birding, from field guides and checklists to bird identification apps that can help with bird calls and photos, helping to transform your experience.

You might be wondering how to start birdwatching or you might already be an experienced birder, no matter the case, if you go searching for birds in your phone’s app store, you will probably end up wasting hours searching through various app options. That is why we’ve taken a closer look at some of the best birdwatching apps on the market.

Just remember, before you download any of these apps, make sure your phone has enough available space and that you’re connected to Wi-Fi. The good news is that once downloaded, many of these birdwatching apps can be used offline, ensuring that, no matter where you are located, you can enjoy their benefits.

A lady on her phone looking at the best birdwatching app in the UK

Whether you are looking for an app for bird identification or to help you identify bird calls in North America, there is always an app to help you. We have previously looked at some of the best birdwatching apps in the UK, and we thought we would now turn our attention stateside.

To help you find the right birdwatching app for your needs, we have split this out into three key categories: Multipurpose birdwatching apps, logging for birdwatching and birdwatching identification apps.

Best Multipurpose Birdwatching Apps (Field Guide, Logging and more)

These ‘all-in-one’ birdwatching apps are designed to cater to all of a birdwatcher’s needs. So, rather than having multiple apps to do specific aspects of birdwatching, these apps tick all the boxes!

Birda App

1. Birda

Despite only being launched in 2022, Birda has become one of the most sought-after, fastest-growing, rapidly improving birdwatching apps on the market. Birda is not only a free suite of tools to find, identify and log what you see, but it also has a vibrant community. It works as a great citizen science platform that provides valuable species sightings data to the global conservation research community!

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The Birda birdwatching app also has fun additional features, including badges, gamified challenges, automated lift lists, bird identification help, species suggestions and health metrics. Birda is often described as ‘The Strava of Birdwatching’ and, at its very core, is an incredibly friendly community of nature lovers of all experience levels and backgrounds.

No matter whether you are looking for an app to help with your garden bird photography or while out in the field, Birda is designed around three core factors: planning, recording and reflection.


Planning is primarily focused on two key features: challenges and locations.

  • The challenges are a fun way to encourage users to get outside into wildlife and live a healthier lifestyle in the process. Birda also runs challenges to get the public involved in fundraising for conservation projects.
  • The purpose of the locations feature is to help birders discover exciting new birdwatching areas that they may not yet know about. The feature shows users what species occur at any location and how common or rare each species is. The unique aspect of locations is the ‘New for you’ list, which highlights the species at a location that you have not yet seen! The ‘New for you’ list also has rarity scores, which makes it incredibly handy for finding locations with species to add to your life list.
Birda app birding locations map, guiding users to prime birdwatching locales.

Identification & Recording

The recording feature allows users to record what they have seen, either incidentally or as part of a birdwatching session (aka checklist) that will enable them to log everything that they see. Birda’s Species Guide is deeply integrated into the app, so the process of identifying what you have seen and then logging the sighting (adding it to your checklist) is a completely seamless process! Gone are the days of switching between multiple apps to identify and then record!

You can also ask members of the Birda community to help with Bird Identification. Simply log a sighting as Unidentified and let the community anonymously suggest a species for you to accept.

Though bird identification using Artificial Intelligence (AI) supplies an instant result, Human Intelligence (HI) is what really helps commit birds to memory by giving us the reasons behind the correct identification (and Birda is filled with HI). So, when you post a picture of a bird you cannot identify and ask the community for help this gets put in an Unidentified feed and birdwatching experts and budding birders from across the globe instantly help you identify your bird. What really sets this capability apart from other bird identification apps is that the Birda community will not only help identify your bird but will often offer useful tips and tricks for next time you spot your bird. In addition to this feature, Birda will soon be launching their own AI identification to sit alongside their HI identification. 

This unique feature of using communal knowledge for bird identification and to benefit all – the person being helped feels supported and the bird identifier feels appreciated – makes Birda one of the best bird identification apps available today.


Finally, after a fun day out in the field, you can add photos, review your life list, see what other birders have spotted, check badges, leaderboards, and engage with the rest of the Birda community.

Alongside all this, Birda users can also help conservationists, researchers, and environmental protection organisations by sharing anonymous sighting information. This allows them to track changes in distribution and implement actions to help save certain species.

Stand out features:

  • Available on Apple and Android devices
  • Free to use
  • Take part in local and international challenges
  • Choose your preferred taxonomy (IOC, Clements and Birdlife)
  • Localised species lists
  • Import sightings from other apps like eBird, Birdtrack & more
  • Get bird identification suggestions from the Birda community
  • Help the community as a bird identifier
  • Set and track your personal birding goals
  • Track healthy living metrics
  • Offline capabilities so you can use the app whenever you like
  • Fine-grained privacy controls
  • The Bird Species field guide features over 11000 different birds and photos

2. Audubon

The Audubon birdwatching app is another fantastic field guide solution that comes from the National Audubon Society. The Society is a non-profit environmental organisation that is dedicated to helping the conversation of all bird species in North America and their habitats. Founded in 1905, it is one of the oldest organisations in the world; however, despite its age, its birdwatching app is modern and user-friendly in design.

Whether you are online or offline, users can search for various species of birds quickly. This will then showcase a collection of images to help users rapidly identify their birds. There is even an option to listen to bird calls.

Alongside its comprehensive American birds list, the Audubon app also has a unique feature that will allow users to search for nearby birds. Tapping into your phone’s GPS, the app will show all of the rare and notable birds that are typically spotted around your current location.

Stand Out Features:

  • Free
  • Field guide
  • Bird challenges
  • Identify over 800 North American bird species
  • Over 3000 photos of birds

Best Logging Apps

Another popular style of birdwatching app is one that will allow you to log the various bird species in North America that you spot. There are lots of options out there, but some of the most popular include:

1. IGT Pocket

The iGoTerra (or IGT) birdwatching app is a fantastic logging solution that provides a range of cloud-based and mobile application services to birdwatching fans. Users can easily keep track of all of the various wildlife they see on their adventures.

Packed with a wide range of tools, users can easily record their observations and import any past records they have created. Uploading photos, American birds list, and more are also quick and straightforward. These can then be shared with their friends or via the friendly competition rankings the app features.

Stand Out Features:

  • Free and premium options
  • Easily add sightings
  • Life lists
eBird App logo

2. eBird

Another great logging app is eBird. The incredibly simple and user-friendly app allows users to easily record all of the bird species in North America that they see while out exploring. This information is then seamlessly organised into a global database, creating a community of thousands of birders around the world.

The eBird birdwatching app is also completely free for users, and the data collected can then be viewed by researchers, conservationists, and educators to track the movements of birds. All of the information inputted into the app is also then passed directly from your phone to your web account, allowing you to track your sightings and hotspots.

Stand Out Features:

  • Free
  • Syncs with your e-bird account
  • Find your location with GPS
  • Regular taxonomy updates

3. iNaturalist

When it comes to birdwatching apps, iNaturalist is one of the most popular in the world and is part of a joint initiative between the National Geographic Society and California Academy of Sciences. Alongside allowing users to identify the wildlife they see easily, the app also includes thousands of plants, allowing birders to get incredibly close to nature.

The popular app has steadily built a thriving community over the years, with over 400,000 naturalists and scientists now using the platform. Regularly using and updating the app also means that birders play a role in conservation projects, with scientists and researchers using the app’s data to understand better how they can protect nature.

Stand Out Features:

  • Free
  • Discover species wherever you are
  • Record your own observations and share them with the community
  • Help other birders identify what they’ve seen
  • Follow projects and community initiatives

Best Field Guide, Photo ID and Call ID Apps

The final category of birdwatching apps to choose from are those that not only act as a field guide but help with identification through photos and calls. Some of the most popular include:

Merlin Bird ID logo

1. Merlin Bird

This unique app helps birders to quickly identify the species that they are seeing and hearing and is partnered with eBird to create a comprehensive American birds list. There are four different methods on the app for bird identification, with users able to answer some questions, upload a photo, explore their current area, or record a bird singing.

Suitable for birders of all experience levels, the Merlin birdwatching app is a great way to get closer to nature and discover more species. Although it is a global app, users can customise it to the regions they are exploring, as well as being able to easily keep track of the birds they have sighted.

Though AI can tell you what species you’ve seen or heard, it can’t tell you why; for example, what characteristics to look out for next time, ways to remember differences between similar species.

Stand Out Features:

  • ID tips, range maps, photos, and sounds to identify birds
  • Customised bird lists
  • Developed by experienced experts
  • Global app
  • Easily record sightings
  • Search for birds according to location and time of year
  • Machine learning built into the app to help with sound ID and photo ID

2. Sibley V2

Another comprehensive birdwatching app, the Sibley option, is based on their popular printed Guide to Birds. Alongside all of the information and images that are found in the guide, the app also has nearly 3,000 recordings of bird species in North America, as well as seasonal updates.

This ensures that birders can quickly search through and identify the various wildlife that they are spotting while out and about. Users can also build their own list of American birds, easily keeping track of their recording

Stand Out Features:

  • Paid app
  • User-friendly design
  • Available in multiple languages
  • Nearly 3,000 calls and songs
  • Compare species side by side.
  • Create personalised lists of species

3. BirdNET

The BirdNET birdwatching app utilises artificial intelligence and neural networks to help users identify over 3,000 of the most popular species of birds in the world. The completely free app allows birders to record the birds they have spotted using the microphone on their smartphone, and the app will then search through its database to identify them.

The unique app was developed by experienced birders and is a joint project between the K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and Chemnitz University of Technology.

Stand Out Features:

  • Free
  • Identity for than 3000 bird species from bird calls
  • Suited to bird ID by calls

4. ChirpOMatic - BirdSong USA

ChirpOMatic, a notable entrant in the birdsong identification market, offers users a means to identify birdsongs, particularly from the North American region.

The app’s primary function is straightforward. When outdoors, users can tap a red button on ChirpOMatic to record the sound when they come across an unfamiliar bird chirp. The app then cross-references the recording with its database and provides a possible match, including the bird’s photo and a brief description of its call.

Recordings are saved with associated data like date, time, and location, offering users an option to share via platforms like AirDrop, WhatsApp, Messages, or Email.

Stand Out Features:

  • Pricing – $4.99.
  • Frequent updates – the app undergoes periodic updates to maintain functionality with the evolving OS.
  • Privacy assurance – ChirpOMatic doesn’t collect users’ personal data or recordings.
  • Customer support – Users can expect responses to queries within a 48-hour window.
  • Bird-safe mode – unique to ChirpOMatic, this mode ensures that playback doesn’t disturb nesting birds. To hear the sounds, users must hold the phone to their ear.
  • Dark mode at night – the app shifts to a darker screen theme during nighttime hours.

5. Picture Bird

Picture Bird is a freemium app tailored for users aiming to identify bird species, either through photographs or sounds. Simply capture or record, and the app provides a potential match.

Stand Out Features:

  • Identification Capabilities – utilising deep learning, Picture Bird claims to differentiate among 10,000+ bird species. When users provide a photo or sound, the app refers to its extensive database to offer a likely match.
  • In-app camera tool – an alternative to carrying dedicated cameras, Picture Bird’s built-in tool allows users to capture birds, offering zoom and clarity adjustments.
  • Bird feeding guidance – the app offers basic feeding suggestions based on selected food and feeder types for those looking to attract birds.
  • Post identification – users can access general details about the bird, such as habitat, appearance, and habits.
  • Collection feature – users can store and manage their bird sightings and create simple bird cards to share.

6. Smart Bird ID

Smart Bird ID is designed for bird enthusiasts looking to identify species using their device’s camera or microphone. The tool covers over 1000 bird species from the USA and Canada, with an extended list from various global regions.

Stand Out Features:

  • Instant identification – with Smart Bird ID, users can instantly detect birds either through their songs (song ID) or visual characteristics (photo ID).
  • Observation journal – users can store observations and sync them across multiple devices.
  • Community sharing – share your bird findings with others and gain insights about local avian populations.
  • Sound library – familiarise yourself with bird calls and songs, enhancing your understanding of their diverse vocalisations.
  • Skill enhancement – engage in entertaining quizzes to refine your bird identification proficiency.
  • Custom alerts – set up notifications for when particular birds are spotted nearby or in designated areas.

7. GoBird

GoBird is an application geared towards enthusiasts keen on discovering and identifying birds from any location globally.

Stand Out Features:

  • Birdwatching sites – unearth top locations known for vibrant bird watching.
  • Rare sightings reporting – stay informed about rare bird sightings in your vicinity.
  • Species mapping – visualise locations where specific bird species have been observed.
  • High-resolution gallery – access detailed photos of over 10,000 global bird species to aid in identification.
  • Vast sound library – delve into a collection of 150,000 bird calls and songs spanning 8,600+ species.


If you’re interested in birdwatching in the USA, there’s likely an app that fits your needs. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced birder, we’ve sifted through numerous options to highlight some of the best birdwatching apps. From comprehensive tools like Birda to specific song identifiers like ChirpOMatic, these apps offer a variety of features for every level of enthusiast. So, make some room on your phone, consider pairing it with a good pair of 8x or 10x binoculars, and enjoy your birdwatching journey.

Want to find out more about Birda?

If you’re considering going birding and want to enjoy the outdoors, download our free Birda app today! The unique community is designed to make birding friendly and accessible to all bird lovers, no matter your experience level. In your garden or further afield, you can share your sightings, discover the best birdwatching locations, participate in challenges and connect with birders in your area.

Connect to nature and like-minded people while you discover and explore the birdlife around you! Amplify your birdwatching experience with Birda today. 

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Sarah Cunningham

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