Friday, September 10, 2010

Identify North American birds by photo, song

Looking for help identifying a bird by photo or song? Then check out Dendroica, an interactive website developed to help students, volunteers and professionals improve their skills at identifying birds by sight or by sound, particularly so that they can participate in nature survey and monitoring programs. The site includes birds from throughout Canada, USA, and Mexico. Participants can contribute new photographs and sound recordings so it will continue to improve over time.

Dendroica (for a definition of the word, see Wikipedia entry) allows you to browse through lists of species found in a particular region to see their pictures and listen to their songs and calls. You can then quiz yourself, based on songs or photos or both, to see how well you have learned the species. You can develop your own custom list of species for study. For the serious bird-watcher, you should note that the site does not include scientific information on bird habitat, range, etc. - just photos/songs.

To use all of the features of Dendroica, including the quiz, or to submit your own photos or sound recordings, you must register and sign in. Registration is free, and only requires that you provide your name and a valid E-mail address.

If you prefer, you can continue as a guest, without logging in. This will allow you to browse through the list of species, see the photographs and listen to the songs. However, several features such as the quiz and the selection of customized lists to study particular groups of species will not be available.

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