Cloudy Days and Connected Nights

With tablet and iPhone in hand and head in the clouds

iBird apps updated to 1.8.3: the best gets better.

with one comment

If you have followed my reviews of birding apps for the iPhone, you know that in my opinion iBird Explorer is, hands down, the best of the lot.

And that is saying a lot.

To  quote myself, “iBird provides quick easy access to a what amounts to a whole library of birding resouces, right in the palm of your hand, as well as a complete set of audio recordings, and more images, including both detailed paintings and photographs, than you could look at in several years.” And the user experience is excellent as well. iBird is a true iPhone app and makes excellent use of the UI to provide that quick easy access.

Version 1.8.3, now appearing in the App Store, adds a number of useful enhancements and refinements, and bunch of new content.

I am quoting from the iBird release on the subject, with my own comments added.

New Features

1.     Shaking the device picks a random bird and plays its song. Shake twice to do it again. Word is, many users are finding this feature a good way of learning bird songs…which just might be an unforeseen benefit.

2.     Family sort on Browse page now has switch: Taxonomic / Alphabetic. An excellent compromise between the needs of the beginner and the birding purist!

3.     Multiple vocalizations for certain bird species. We currently only have these birds set up: American Robin, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, but more are coming. More will be added soon. More are needed, especially as the competition, notably Audubon Birds, features a much stronger sound library.

4.     Registration. Register iBird and we’ll send you a coupon for a free 6-month subscription to the Make-a-Guide, a cool web based system, which lets you design and build custom field guides. You can see more about it here:

Fairly unobtrusive and useful to some.

5.     14 new search attributes plus all attributes are grouped in related areas. Welcome additions to the search criteria, but the best new feature is the rearrangement and grouping of the criteria in what now seems to be to be a much more logical scheme. Makes specifying a search much easier and the whole search function more useful.

6.     Includes new search by patterns.

7.     Includes new search by weight, length and wingspan. Sliders make setting the limits easy (and even a little fun!)

8.     Number of birds in each state has been increased significantly. (See table below). Do see the table. Impressive work on an already extensive database of state records!

9.     The switch for Color (ANY and ALL) has been simplified to an ON OFF switch.

10.  The Taxonomic sort switch has been simplified to an ON OFF switch. Simplicity is always good when it does not sacrifice functionality. These changes are for the good.

11.  There is a new Compare iBird Apps menu item in the More screen.

Besides the added bird sounds, over 200 additional images have been added.

In addition there are several bug fixes.


All of which clearly keeps iBird Explorer on the top of the short list of birding apps on the iPhone. It is a great app, but more than that, it reflects a great attitude on the part of its developers. They seem genuinely motivated to produce the best birding app possible, and they put a lot of effort into keeping iBird the best. Many of the refinements offered since the app appeared are totally unneeded…if your only criteria is financial success. The app would sell just as well without them. If, no the other hand, your motivation is excellence and the most excellent user experience possible, then you develop, and continue to refine, an app of iBird’s obvious quality!

New Features of iBird 1.8.3

1. Shake opens a random species page and plays its song. 2. Switch changes Family sort from alphabetic to taxonomic. 3. Multiple vocalizations for species. Explains what each song means.

4. Register iBird and receive a free subscription to the Make-a-Guide. Build custom PDF books with just the birds you want – great for classes, vacations, etc. Three formats for books.

5. Search attributes are now grouped by similar characteristics.

6. New search by breast, belly and back pattern.

7. Search by length, weight and wingspan. Provides an amazing wealth of information about how birds compare by these attributes.

8. The default mode is ANY color matches (OR), the switch turns on ALL colors need to be true to match (AND 9. The default mode for sorting is alphabetic, the switch turns on the Taxonomic mode. 10. The item Compare Bird Apps opens a table on the web server where you can see how the iPhone bird apps stand up.

Written by singraham

December 6, 2009 at 5:48 am

One Response

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  1. Hi -is it possible to use ibird with a Blackberry Storm2? My wife has it on her ipod and I would love to have it on my phone. Thanks.

    Breck Knauft

    February 1, 2010 at 3:23 pm

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