As we emerge from our hidey holes, dark spaces, and places of safety, summer feels like spring after a long winter. With that emergence comes an embrace of the great outdoors. But if you’re like me, you have no idea what critters are making beautiful music or the name of the resplendent glories adorning your walk in the woods. Come along, and pull back the canopy of mystery surrounding flowers, trees, birds, and more as we rediscover the wonders of the natural world around us.
Rediscover the Great Outdoors with These Nature Lover Apps
Did you know that exposure to nature results in more community cohesion and lower crime? That’s right, as we embrace nature, it works to instill a sense of well-being. Observing nature helps reduce crime and aggression (source).
In this blog entry, you will get access to a few favorite apps for identifying nature around you and access to a Wakelet collection full of additional nature apps. Now, let’s take a look at some of them! You can find a complete list in the infographic at the end of this post.
Our first three apps focus on bird identification and information.
“The robin flew from his swinging spray of ivy on to the top of the wall and he opened his beak and sang a loud, lovely trill, merely to show off. Nothing in the world is quite as adorably lovely as a robin when he shows off – and they are nearly always doing it.”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
#1 – Merlin Bird ID
“As an avid bird watcher in my rural back yard, I use the Merlin Bird Identifier app. It resolves disagreements my husband and I have about new avians that appear at our feeders. It’s been a marriage saver!” says Lori Gracey, Executive Director at TCEA.
Only the other day, my family was wondering, “Is that an owl hooting at mid-day?” My daughter and husband, Drs. Aida and Zac Guhlincozzi, whipped out their smartphones. They identified the hooting (it was a dove, not an owl). Listening to bird songs (more on that in a moment) can be so relaxing!
#2 – Audobon Bird Guide
Need to identify a bird? If Merlin Bird ID doesn’t work, try this one. It is a free guide to over 800 species of North American birds.
“It (is) a precious gift, and rare, to hear birds warbling all year long. ~Desiree Clary Bernadottev(Queen Desideria)”
― Allison Pataki, The Queen’s Fortune
#3 – Song Sleuth
Need to name that tune, er, bird? Use Song Sleuth! It listens to bird songs and then identifies them for you. And it’s available for iOS and Android at no cost.
Don’t want to listen to bird outside? For shame! Not every ornithologist can go long without air conditioning and a cool lemonade. Listen to these bird song collections. You may also appreciate the Bird Song Hero, a song learning game from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Ok, if you’re not a bird fan, or find it annoys you in the morning hours, you might be a tree hugger or plant whisperer. Let’s take a look at two plant apps.
#4 – LeafSnap
Need a quick way to identify trees? Take a close look at their leaves, snap a picture, then let LeafSnap do the rest. LeafSnap offers a handy interface to identifying plant life around you.
“Living on the edge of town with lots of fields around us, the Leafsnap app has been helpful. It has helped us avoid poison ivy as well as discover new, native plants to replant in our back yard,” says Lori Gracey.
#5 – Pl@ntNET
“What is that?” I asked peering at the plant near the side of the road. At the time, I didn’t have Pl@ntNet loaded on my phone. If you need an easy-to-use plant identifier, give this free app a try. You can use their app, or access the website.
But Wait, There’s More!
Get this handy infographic with some of the popular nature lover apps and a link to Wakelet collections mentioned in this blog entry.