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From the author of Peterson Birds: A Field Guide to Birds of North America

Peterson Birds: A Field Guide to Birds of North America

If you've ever used any of Peterson's printed field guides, you'll recognize the illustrations by Roger Tory Peterson in Peterson Birds (see Figure 6). This universal app makes excellent use of the larger screen on the iPad. Stylized illustrations highlight the primary features for identifying a bird, as shown in Figure 7. Species entries include bird songs, molting information, range maps, plus egg and nest photos for over 800 species of North American birds (see Figure 8). You can even import checklists of bird sightings and your own bird photos, associating them with the entries.

Figure 6 Peterson Birds' start screen.

Figure 7 Finches and relatives listed in Peterson Birds.

Figure 8 Purple finch listing in Peterson Birds.

The feature set for Peterson Birds Pocket Edition: A Field Guide to Birds of North America is reduced, but the number of birds covered is identical. The Peterson Guides website offers a feature comparison chart, but the primary differences are that the Pocket edition doesn't include the sightings data, nest photos, or similar species data on bird entries; it can't import checklists or your own bird photos; and it lacks some of the extended species info found in the regular edition.

Both apps are part of a series of Peterson Guides for iOS. Another popular guide is Peterson Backyard Birds, a free app featuring 160 common birds seen in the backyards of North America. This is a great app for birding beginners, designed for the person who has a bird feeder and wants to identify and learn about the birds that visit it. The app covers 60 common North American birds that are most likely to appear at bird feeders and in backyards. It's a fun app to use with kids, though they may need a little help.

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