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New iPhone app IDs birds by sound of their calls

New iPhone app IDs birds by sound of their calls

BOSTON — Song Sleuth introduced a groundbreaking app that turns any Apple device into a powerful and accurate bird song identifier, and it debuts on the iTunes Store today.

Developed by Wildlife Acoustics in collaboration with bird expert and illustrator David Sibley, Song Sleuth is a simple to use application that enables anyone with an iOS device to record, recognize and positively identify the songs of nearly 200 North American birds.

The biggest leap forward for hobbyist birders since binoculars, Song Sleuth’s technological backbone is based on Wildlife Acoustics’ decade-long development of algorithms for wildlife study, the release noted. Its software is similar in concept to what is used in speech recognition software, but specifically tailored to the unique acoustical characteristics of bird songs.

“By pairing sophisticated algorithms and our proprietary software, Song Sleuth delivers unprecedented accuracy in bird song identification,” said Ian Agranat, Wildlife Acoustics founder.

Wildlife Acoustics is a provider of bioacoustics monitoring systems for scientists, researchers, and government agencies worldwide. Bioacoustics is an emerging field of research that combines biology and acoustic data to gain insights into the natural world.

Wildlife Acoustics was founded by Agranat in 2005 with the invention of an “audio birdsong detective” about the size of a pair of binoculars, known as the original “Song Sleuth.”

In addition to being remarkably more affordable, the 2017 Song Sleuth app is both more powerful and more accurate, the company claims, adding that it is also more elegant, thanks to the contributions of Sibley, who’s knowledge and passion for birding have helped create a true learning tool for birders of all levels.

“Song Sleuth is one of many tools that can help identify a bird, but its true benefit is helping people become better birders by familiarizing them with known birdsongs in a logical, familiar way,” said Sibley.

In addition to the bird song identification software, Song Sleuth includes The David Sibley Bird Reference. Users can access The David Sibley Bird Reference at any time in the app and view Sibley’s beautiful illustrations and detailed descriptions. The reference also includes range maps and charts developed exclusively for Song Sleuth that show the likelihood of a bird’s presence in the user’s area at any given time of year.

To identify a nearby bird’s song, users need to only push the record button in “Record and ID” mode. The app begins recording a few seconds prior to initial recording and a visual representation of the frequencies and timing of the bird’s song are depicted in a real-time spectrogram on the screen.

Once users have completed recording the bird’s song by tapping the record button again, the app immediately reveals the three most probable birds in the “Likely Matches” screen. Here users have a myriad of options to help them make the final identification of the bird including playing example recordings of the likely matches, using The David Sibley Bird Reference, and comparing spectrograms of the example recordings with the user’s side-by-side.

Once the correct bird has been determined, users can label the geotagged recording with the correct species, include custom notes, download the audio file or share the recording with fellow birders via email or messaging.

Song Sleuth is available on the App Store now for $9.99, and an Android version will be available in time for the fall migration.

For more information, visit

SOURCE: Wildlife Acoustics press release

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About Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber is a freelance writer and podcaster who has been writing about the RV industry since 2000. He is the former editor of RV Daily Report.

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