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.