Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab

Cornell University
  • Version: 1.4
  • Size: 62.8 MB
  • Content Rating: Rated 4+
  • Version: 1.4
  • Size: 62.8 MB
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Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab review

  • Erin Myers
    • 2018-08-16
Professional Critic
Erin Myers

Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab review

  • 2018-08-16
Review Standarts
Our main goal is to provide full and useful app reviews. Our authors strictly follow the rules: minimum 15 hours of the real app usage experience or gameplay, test on main Android and iOS versions, test on phones and tablets.

Is it a bird? Well, this time it’s no Superman and even no plane; it’s really a bird. But what species is it? If you don’t really know, you can’t guess without assistance. But for your help, there is a special app for that. Developed by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, it will help you to recognize what bird you see.

Birds are probably among the most exciting and wonderful creatures around. No wonder they attract our attention and curiosity, especially when you see something you’ve never seen before or have seen rarely. The app by Cornell Lab (of Cornell University) introduces you to this various and beautiful world.

 
Interface — 5/5

The developers did their best to make the recognition process as easy as can be. All the buttons you need are on the home screen; when you open a pack, you can navigate by simple swiping and tapping. The menus and the pictograms are very obvious, so making it out is even easier than recognizing birds.


Content and Features — 5/5

The main content of the app is bird databases, with photos, descriptions, areas they dwell in, and even sounds these birds produce. The collections are probably tagged that helps in finding the match. The content is organized into downloadable packs, so you can only store the pack of the birds dwelling in your region, or where you’re going soon.

The size of a pack varies from 175 up to 953 MB, and they may grow bigger as new species are added. When the pack is downloaded, you can either recognize birds by their appearance and behavior or just browse them in systematic order (or just randomly).

You can also download an additional Photo ID pack made for scanning images and recognizing them to find the match.

 
Usability — 5/5

It only takes five steps to identify the bird you’ve seen. First, select the exact location you met it to narrower the search. Then select the day you met it. At the next step, the app asks you about the size of the bird and offers several grades of it. Each of them is a comparison with some of the most common birds (like a sparrow, robin, crow, or goose). The fourth step is about colors: select what colors the bird was, opting three of the suggested. And at the final step you select the bird’s behavior: whether it was eating at a feeder, swimming, hiding in bushes or trees, sitting or a fence or wire, walking on the ground or flying.

Then the app offers you the list of matching birds that could look and behave like you described. If you have found what you’ve been searching for, you can share it via social networks or any other way, or send your feedback to the developers. You can also report if no bird of the suggested was what you had seen. The search is quite easy even if you’ve never seen yourself as an ornithologist.


Compatibility — 5/5

The app works on iOS 8.0 or fresher and Android. Required Android version depends on the device, but probably it’s compatible with Android 4.4 or later.

The weak spot is the memory. If you download pack by pack just to feed your curiosity, you may run out of free space sooner than you think. So we recommend keeping from storing locally more packs than you actually need.


Conclusion

While some warn us that technology drives us away from nature, this app does just the opposite. Our urban life doesn’t require perfect knowledge of nature around us, but there are things you’d just like to learn. This app provides an easy and fast way to get acquainted with birds around (though they may be not so eager to know you). Even if you’re out in parks, fields, or forest not so frequently, you can use the app just for browsing and reading.
 

Pros:

  • Large database
  • Easy recognition
  • Visual recognition module as an option
  • Clear interface.

Cons:

  • Only American and Western European birds are listed
  • Database packs are large enough.
5
Interface
5
Content and features
5
Usability
5
Compatibility

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