Calling All Bird Enthusiasts, Nature Lovers, the Curious and Inquisitive

May 20, 2020 | By Baltimore County Public Library

Photo of a hummingbird

Being outside is something we all look forward to during this extended stay at home. Whether on a walk around your neighborhood, spending time on your porch or balcony, or simply sitting next to an open window, you’ve probably noticed more of your neighborhood wildlife than usual. Springtime brings many birds to see and hear, and if you and your family have been curious about identifying the birds in your neighborhood, we’re here to help! 

Bird watching and identifying is a great outdoor activity no matter your age, whether with your family or as a solo hobby. So grab your device, get outside and use these free resources to explore the birds in your neighborhood! 

Download Merlin Bird ID 

A great free app, available on both Apple and Android devices, is Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab. Fun for all ages, Merlin is an identification tool, which has a wealth of information about bird species across the United States.  

You can easily upload a photo of a bird you’ve spotted in your neighborhood through “Photo ID” or answer five short questions about the bird in question with “Start Bird ID.” The questions are as simple as where and when you saw it, the size of the bird, its colors and what the bird was doing.  

After you answer the questions, the app generates a short list of possible bird identifications with photos, descriptions and recordings of the birds’ songs and calls. You can even share your IDs with friends and family! Also, by providing your email address and creating a free account, you can share your bird identifications with Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology, as well as gain access to many of their collaborative projects and courses. 

Explore Digital Library Resources

There are also digital library resources available for your family to use to aid in your bird identification adventures! World Book Kids and Kids InfoBits contain pictures, information and articles about several bird species. While Gale In Context: Middle School and Gale OneFile: High School Edition have magazine and news articles, videos and radio broadcasts about bird watching.  

Category: Collection and Materials