Cell phones have become birding tools. There are phone apps that identify birds by sight and sound.
Denver has a birding app that helps birders find good places to bird. It is noteworthy for pointed usefulness and simplicity.
The Denver app was designed for beginning and casual birders. It offers basic information about particular places to bird in and around that city, and the species you might expect to see.
That’s all it does.
It exists at the moment only for Denver. Too bad.
The app is well designed. Information is linked to form a circle of data you can travel with ease — click click click. What birds might be seen? Where? What are the sites like? Where are they? If you visit a site, what species might be seen?
Data and illustrations for 43 species are included. Begin with any of the 15 locations.
It is a design perfect for beginning / casual birders or beginning / casual users of phone apps.
Lists are presented in alphabetical order, by the way, a good idea for use by beginners and casual birders.
Plus, it’s on your phone, in your pocket.
Screen images and maps, in color, offer just enough information. The type is large enough to be read easily on a cell-phone screen. That’s critical. If information comes from a regular web page, the size of type appropriate there can be impossible to read on the tiny screen of a cell phone.
The software format at the moment serves only the Denver area. It was developed by Squarei Technologies of Fort Collins, CO, for the City of Denver. It began with an idea from a software designed who also is a birder.
“The primary goal was a simple app that would allow beginners to get involved with the birding community,” wrote Lindsey Rehder, chief operation officer of Squarei, answering questions by email.
The project was financed by a grant from the city and county of Denver. Maps and data were developed by naturalists on city staff.
Money was limited, which limited the scope of the project, which kept it simple.
Limited funding might ultimately have been a good thing. Simple works for me.
Squarei is not working on similar projects at this time, but would “absolutely” like to do so, wrote Rehder. New information would plug into the Denver format.
Minnesota has no directly comparable app, but certainly has a wealth of birding information available on an incredibly detailed and linked phone app, plus other web sites and good, old-fashioned books.
That app, developed by local birder Rich Hoeg, can be found at the App Store. Search for Minnesota Birding News. It is free.
More on all of this later.