[CT Birds] Merlin -- yes, to id.: Re: Bird Apps

Russ Smiley arsmiley at comcast.net
Fri May 9 23:10:07 EDT 2014


" Probably best for a beginner "

Yes and no. I stumped it when demonstrating Merlin to a coworker to find
what I knew from his description to be a brant. I wanted to have Merlin find
it so that this budding birder might take interest in the app. We tried
several approaches to get it to show a brant. As it turned out, as others
mentioned, Merlin is missing some key birds from the database (like the
Brant and Cerulean warbler).

However, I do use the "Browse" feature (upon opening) to quickly get to the
song & call recordings. It came in handy yesterday when I checked Merlin to
verify the Caspian tern's guttural 'bark' I heard (first time ever).

Russ Smiley
Marlborough, CT

-----Original Message-----
From: CTBirds [mailto:ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org] On Behalf Of
Arthur Shippee
Sent: Friday, May 09, 2014 1:33 PM
To: Birds General reports
Subject: [CT Birds] Merlin -- yes, to id.: Re: Bird Apps

Yes, briefly last week.  It is an identification tool, asking a series of
questions, each with a fixed set of answers:  relative size;  color (up to
3);  location;  habitat where seen;  maybe something else.  It then gives
you a list of possible birds.  I.e., the point is to whittle down the
choices to a manageable number to check manually.  

I had a Black & White Warbler on the ground, and being on the ground stumped
the app.  You can't skip a question, and you can't say no to an option,
e.g., in color, you can't negate red or orange.  

Probably best for a beginner;  depending on how they develop the tool, it
may be more helpful for others with tough id. problems.  

On May 9, 2014, at 1:17 PM, Stefanie Paventy <stefpav09 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Has anyone tried Merlin (from Cornell) yet?  Is that more to figure out
> what you're looking at than an actual guide?  Thanks!
> 
> Cheers,
> Stefanie Paventy
> Onset, MA/Cheshire, CT
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