iBird Pro HD The Best Bird Guide Ever

Two things have happened that I never ever saw coming. I’m writing about a birding app and iBird actually improved on perfection. The new iBird Pro HD is now available for the iPad and this is no simple port from the iPhone. iBird did a whole new edition for the iPad with all new hi-res images and incredibly they’ve also managed to score the Cornell Labs bird songs. Even I (not a birder) know that theses new songs are the gold standard in bird recordings.

If you have an iPad then you know how gorgeous your images are on the iPad. Now you can use that same high resolution display to identify birds in a way that isn’t possible in print. They have included hundreds of quality images from professional photographers and then added thousands more from Flickr users around the world. It’s possible that you could see 50 or more images of just a single species. You would have to carry an encyclopedia with you to have the information that is available at the tap of your finger with iBird Pro HD.

I’m not a birder, but I am a bird photographer and I need to be able to properly identify birds in order to get them published. Even the best guide books are sometimes not good enough. There are huge differences with many species of birds depending on age, time of the year and a whole bunch of other nerdy things. Most bird books describe these things using a technical language that I just don’t speak. With iBird, I look at my picture and look at the picture on my iPad and I can usually get it sorted out quickly. How easy is that? I mean, I learned how to do that in kindergarten and have gotten pretty good at it by now!

If you are a photographer that likes to photograph birds, you need this app. I’m assuming that you already have an iPad, but if you don’t you should and this app will justify the cost when it saves you from an embarrassment of submitting a wrongly identified image to a publisher.

How you like an app always comes with a certain amount of subjectivity, but the numbers don’t lie. Look at this excerpt (click it for a bigger version) comparing the iBird app with others in the app store. Clearly the data shows that this is the macdaddy of the iOS apps. You can see the full version…HERE.

[singlepic id=572 w=540 h=440 float=center]

Even if you have no idea where to start to find out the bird you’ve found, iBird can help. It let’s you describe colors and shapes and sizes and then shows you some possible birds. How cools is that? Oh, you can also narrow it down by state!

I think you get the idea, I am a fan. I think that you should go buy this app right now. At $29.99 it’s a fair price and not priced much higher than some print versions. But wait, there’s one more thing! (wink to Steve Jobs) The good people at iBird have created a trial app, called iBird HD Lite and its FREE!. Awesome way to try before you buy. My advice, save your time you’re going to buy the full version, so just buy it today.


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  1. Jessica

    This review sold me on the iBird and now that I have used it for a day I absolutely am in love with it. What an amazing product. The search engine is outstanding. All my kids are fighting over it now. Thanks Jeff.

  2. birding dude

    As a birder, I was disappointed with this app. My main complaint has been the quality of the drawings, which often do not accurately show critical field marks. It’s strength is the huge amount of data it contains for all the bird species but it is crippled by the drawings. The songs are nice but other bird guide apps that feature accurate drawings also have high quality recordings.

    Since I have purchased the Sibley eGuide, I have not once used iBird on my iPad, even though Sibley is not formatted for the iPad. the difference in quality is that big.

  3. Otis Ryder

    Been using iBird Pro HD since it came out and completely agree with your review; I think its one of the best iPad apps. I also own the iBird Explorer Plus for the iPhone and use it everyday. The upgrade to the Cornell recordings was a great step as the prior songs and calls were not very good. I particularly like the photos in iBird in fact that table you provided a link for that comparison table showed me something I never knew – iBird is the only app that has both drawings and photos. My only wish is that the photos in the iPad were full screen.

  4. Jeff

    Hey birding dude,

    I must confess that the drawings feature is one that I rarely use, so I cannot really comment. I personally prefer being able to look at the pictures, but I suppose that is also because I am comparing a picture with a picture and so that helps me more than the drawings.

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