Friday, February 24, 2017

Song Sleuth first impressions


You have probably heard about Song Sleuth by now, an app that will identify bird songs for you in the field.  I had my doubts but I was also intrigued, especially with a trip to Texas coming up in a month which will likely be filled with unfamiliar bird songs.  Ten bucks was not my ideal price tag but I have wasted ten bucks on stupider things before so I took the plunge.

It was raining when I downloaded it and I didn't really want to test it outside, so my first test was at work with a Pacific Northwest birds CD.  It failed the first few I played and finally skipped ahead to Great Horned Owl, because what could be easier?  These are the options it gave me:


Ummmm.... No.  I tried a new recording of the same owl....


Okay then.  I tried a few others with similar results though it did manage to identify a Western Meadowlark song.


Of course the app does come with this disclaimer:  "If you will be disappointed to see the wrong answer, then this app isn't for you."

The app does offer ways to edit the recordings but that is more work than I am interested in.  I gave the app an outdoor test the other day when a Song Sparrow was really belting it out fifteen feet from me. 



I also got it to identify a singing junco on the fourth try, though it was the third option down on the list.


The app also correctly identified a scrub-jay.  Most of the time it seemed like there was too much other noise going on for it to work.  A Pacific Wren at the Grotto yesterday was identified as a Red Squirrel or Human. 

I'll give it a try again when the weather is nicer and more birds are singing.  Till then, I have to recommend saving your ten bucks.*

*This is based on very little so do whatever you want.  It's still fun to play with and will hopefully be improved over time.