This workshop was an experiment as a new type of opportunity for our members, and the turnout and response was very positive.
Held at the West Hartford Public Library on a cold Saturday morning, Ken Elkins of Audubon Connecticut led our group of over 40 participants through a variety of phone apps to help our birding.
He started with bird guide apps from Audubon and Sibley’s, showing some of their features and differences in photos/drawings and sound. He progressed to apps that help you identify birds when you don’t know what they are, such as Merlin and Birdseye, and expanded with ones that focus on the songs of the birds with Song Sleuth and Bird Genie.
He also showed the Warbler Guide app which is specifically oriented toward warblers and allows for 3-D rotation of photographs (wow – how many times are you looking at a warbler from underneath and can’t ID it? This helps!). He included iNaturalist to show how you can identify more than birds when walking outdoors, and it was noted that this is a terrific app for children if you’re leading a walk with families or taking out your children or grandchildren.
And, of course, he led the group through the use of the eBird app, encouraging its use both in the field and online from home computers to aid in data collection through citizen science. eBird can be used internationally and is a terrific source of information for conservation efforts worldwide.
Ken brought along some mounted birds as well as some plush Audubon singing birds for folks to practice with.
All in all, it was a helpful, informative workshop – we’ll offer it again! – Sarah Faulkner