October 12, 2011

A new app — WeBIRD — identifies birds when it hears their songs.

“In fact, not only can WeBIRD tell you which species you’re hearing, it’s good enough to identify individual birds from their song.”

Designed by Mark Berres, a University of Wisconsin–Madison ornithologist.

32 comments:

The Elder said...

VERY cool.

Fred4Pres said...

Why not iBird?

Nobody Knows That I Am A Dog!!! said...

Free Bird!!!!!!

Scott M said...

Bender: "Do they have an app for kissing my shiny, metal ass?"
Nerd: "Several."

sonicfrog said...

Way Cool!!! now I'm going to have to go get an iPhone!!!!

Curious George said...

My son does a perfect cardinal. He fools my cat. He's done it in movie theaters and has had ushers looking for the birds.

I wonder if he could fool We Bird.

edutcher said...

WeBIRD. Sounds like Ebonics.

traditionalguy said...

If an F22 passes low overhead, does it say "Raptor, Raptor..run for your life."

gutless said...

Will it recognize a turd bird?

Scott M said...

WeBIRD. Sounds like Ebonics.

No, that would be "DatBird", "WackBIRD" or "CrazyassedBIRD"

Nonapod said...

I'd like an app that could identify wildflower species from camera phone pictures.

Scott M said...

I'd like an app that could identify wildflower species from camera phone pictures.

Or spiders from a picture. Especially the really big, fuzzy ones. Or that one that just bit me with the violin on it's back...

sonicfrog said...

My son does a perfect cardinal.

Heh... I do too!!! That was my favorite bird growing up in Dallas. Sadly, out here in CA, we don't have them, so no one ever recognizes my whistle.

bagoh20 said...

Useful, educational, valuable, obvious, wonderful application. When I first read the headline, I thought it was something like Angry Birds, which is none of those things.

Great.

traditionalguy said...

Does it detect a Roadrunner's laugh?

Perry and Romney will need it to detect the laugh of Roadrunner Cain leaving them in the dust.

deborah said...

Cool.

My nephew showed me an ap that if you hold your phone up in the air, it will show you which constellations are overhead.

MarkG said...

Anyone know how to get this app?

Ann Althouse said...

@MarkG I guess it's not up yet. I'm just reading the announcement at the UW website.

edwardroyce said...

Excellent!

So now I can perfectly identify the precise bird that is waking me up early in the morning, track it down and shoot it?

Outstanding!

:)

Scott M said...

well, you can use it to identify the bird, but you're going to need iSHOOT to actually, well, you know...

deborah said...

photograph it?

Chip Ahoy said...

That's awesome!

It's cool along the lines of one of my favorite pop-up books Birdscapes. Available directly through the Althouse-Amazon portal. I just now noticed they've sold 400K copies.

Each double page opens to a different habitat with birds placed within it. An extended audio file plays birds calls. The calls are overlapped. The idea is to match the sound with the bird pictured in the splayed tableau. The book helps you match bird to call two ways including a key in the back, but for the life of me I cannot match bird to call for a single spread, even for the habitat and birds of my own area. It's a great learning instrument for people better at this sort of thing than me. The tiny batteries of my copy were dead on arrival so I enjoyed the book without sound until they were replaced, and then a whole noisy bird world opened up. The sound stops when you turn the page or close it.

rhhardin said...

It's likely to be very tricky to do, unless it limits itself to easy ones.

The particular song is less important than what it sounds like it is. There's huge variation.

It might have an application to easy ones that you just don't know owing to rarity, like warblers that only sing in early May.

It would be more likely to be correct if it used location and month and migration patterns as much as song, the song being just one input.

Also there are calls and songs, which are quite different.

rhhardin said...

Newcomb's Wildflower Guide, for wildflowers.

rhhardin said...

@chip Just go ear alone and ignore what the bird looks like. You won't be able to find the bird anyway.

The Peterson Backyard Bird Song is a trivial beginning, then Peterson Birding by Ear. At some point the narrator will begin to be less helpful than the time he takes, and then the Stokes CD set is better.

The narrator though teaches you how to listen, which is important to start.

Peterson's second Birding by Ear set is well past that point.

Triangle Man said...

Why not iBird?

That name is already taken by another great bird identification app.

Patrick said...

Surely this must conflcit with the "Angry Birds" app. I don't see how the two could exist on the same device.

Fred4Pres said...

wiiBird?

Paul Zrimsek said...

WeBIRD just told me "that guy in the white Camry is really pissed that you wouldn't let him make that right turn from the middle lane." Anyone ever heard of that species?

Paddy O said...

This might be what pushes me over the edge to get a smartphone. Very fun.

I love knowing who the bird neighbors are wherever I'm at.

paul a'barge said...

No such app.

I just went to the Apple App Store.

Tinderbox said...

Yeah, I think they only developed the database so far, and he was musing on how cool a smartphone app would be if it could integrate with that database. Badly written article.