how to use merlin bird app

Over the weekend, I enjoyed testing out the FREE Merlin Bird App ID app while taking a walk through a wetlands park area. I was amazed at how easy this app was to use and how quickly it identified the bird calls! For years I thought a sound was an owl, but quickly learned it was a mourning dove. So fascinating to watch the app identify the birds!

This app would be wonderful for student use on the playground or on field trips. It also would be a fun app to use on a family walk. There are so many ways the data could be tracked by students and compared. Here is the link to more information about the app including the app download link:

Get A Custom List Of Birds For Any Location

Sometimes, all you want is a list of the birds that are most likely to be in a given area—you don’t want to use Merlin Bird ID to identify each bird individually. Use Explore Birds to do this. When Explore Birds is open, select your location and date by tapping the filter icon located in the upper right corner and selecting Likely Birds. Merlin will create a personalized list of birds specific to your area so you can concentrate on learning about the birds you are most likely to see.

Bonus tip: Sort by Most Likely while the filter panel is open. It will be easier to view birds from most common to least common if you arrange the list in this manner rather than viewing them taxonomically or alphabetically. Look over that list to determine which birds need your attention first.

Improve your Smartphone Photography to ID Birds

Merlin can identify a bird if you can get a picture of it with your smartphone. Additionally, there’s no need for a particularly good shot—Merlin’s recognition should be sufficient. If your smartphone isn’t able to capture a clear enough picture, you can also take a picture of a picture, use binoculars or a spotting scope to capture the image, or take a picture of the rear of a camera.

Set Your Location So You Can ID Birds Even Without Internet

Merlin is meant to assist you in identifying birds regardless of how far you are in the field or forest. This is crucial when venturing off the usual route or even if Internet service is sporadic in your hometown. If you can’t connect, you don’t want to be stuck not knowing what bird you are looking at!

Pre-setting your location is essential for utilizing Merlin Bird ID when you’re not connected. After tapping on Explore Birds, locate the filter icon in the upper-right corner of the screen. When you tap this, a panel will appear where you can adjust your location to the location of your choice. The locations you set while out and about will remain in the history of locations and function fully offline.


How does the Merlin bird app work?

Answer three simple questions about a bird you are trying to identify and Merlin will give you a list of possible matches. Merlin offers quick identification help for all levels of bird watchers and outdoor enthusiasts to help you learn about the birds in any country in the world.

What do the symbols mean on the Merlin app?

These icons tell you if a species is rare (red dot) or uncommon (orange semi-circle) for the bird to be seen at the location and on the date that you selected. The same species that is common in summer might be rare in winter.

Is Merlin bird app accurate?

I use Merlin some; my experience is this: don’t totally rely on the app; it’s often correct, but not always. At my home it semi-regularly “identifies” birds that I know don’t normally, if ever, occur here. Try to listen to the bird yourself, the closer the better.