Birds of Britain and Ireland app (Pinnacle)
It's no exaggeration to say that smartphones have revolutionised birding, from the ease and speed with which sightings can be shared to being able to photograph what you see in the field. One of the most useful improvements is the ability to carry an entire field guide in your pocket, and this is the aim of this new app.
Covering 230 of the most regularly seen species in Britain and Ireland, the app opens with a simple A–Z list. There's no search function; instead you find a bird name using the letters down the side of the screen, similar to the iPhone's Contacts list.
Each entry contains a description of the bird, along with distribution, diet and habitat information, size, behaviour, a list of similar birds and when the species can be seen in Britain and Ireland. Also included is a selection of photos, showing male and female plumages where relevant, and a sound recording.
Users can 'favourite' birds by tapping the star icon, as well as create a list of sightings, either within the Sightings page or by tapping the binocular icon on each species' account. This logs date, location and number seen. It's also possible to upload photos to your sightings and to view them on a map.
The Feeding page provides tips on what foods to put out to attract certain species to your garden. This seems a somewhat random addition to a field guide, but could be useful for anyone trying to encourage children to be more interested in birds.
The app is very simple to use and the clear, uncomplicated design is easy on the eye. The species accounts appear to be accurate and sufficiently in-depth to help a beginner make a correct identification. The text is quite small, though, and the space allocated to it under the photo is limited, making it rather difficult to read.
The developer claims the app provides information for birders of all levels, but the more knowledgeable are likely to find that it isn't detailed enough, especially as it doesn't cover rarer species. However, there is much here to appeal to new or younger birders who only require information on our commonest species and might be somewhat put off by, for example, the more comprehensive Collins Bird Guide app.
From: Pinnacle Apps
Size: 621 MB
Requires: iOS 8.0 or later