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From the author of Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America

Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America

The art of David Allen Sibley is featured in the $19.99 Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America. The app is part of a series featuring Sibley's art from developer Digital Earth. The home screen's prominent "Intro. and Help" button provides both a tutorial for using the app and suggested techniques for identifying and watching birds effectively. An equally prominent Menu button leads to a taxonomic index and an alphabetic index (both in English), a Smart Search feature, and access to your personal in-app list of birds. Tapping My Location in the menu lets you select a location that will serve to prioritize birds of that region; you can also turn off the location setting in order to browse all the listed species. One of the most useful features is available by tapping the Compare button and then any two birds in the list; the app presents both birds together on a single screen for visual comparison.

Each listed species provides several detailed paintings, including versions showing the birds in flight and regional variations (with callouts noting characteristic traits), a range map, audio of songs and calls, and detailed identification and behavior descriptions. A notepad menu bar icon makes it simple to add any species to your in-app list of sightings. Arrow buttons let you browse rapidly to the next or previous bird (see Figure 9).

Figure 9 Comparing birds in the Sibley eGuide.

The Smart Search function of the main menu filters birds based on characteristics you select to simplify identifying a particular bird. You can restrict a search to common birds based on your location and/or exclude saltwater birds; then narrow your bird possibilities by color and other features. In the example in Figure 10, tapping Show Only Common Birds, Exclude Saltwater Birds, Bright Red/Pink/Violet, Spotted/Streaked Breast, and then Sparrow, followed by tapping List, resulted in a list with thumbnails of Purple Finch and House Finch. Looking at the detailed pages for each species made it quite simple to decide which was the bird in question.

Figure 10 Purple finch listing in Sibley eGuide.

The free Sibley Guide to the Birds of North America LITE includes all the features and functions of its larger sibling, but covers only 30 species, as compared to 813 species in the full app.

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