As migrating birds start their great (and short distance) fall journeys, you may discover some new visitors at your feeder and in your backyard. Be ready with a birding guide that’s always in your hip pocket with one of these smartphone apps. 

1. Merlin

Platform: Android, iOS
Price: Free

Created by the inimitable Cornell Lab of Ornithology, this app makes it easy and fun to identify a wide variety of birds. Simply answer a set of questions, and, “like magic,” it presents a brief list of possibilities. Another amazing feature is that it can analyze your bird photo to help you figure out what you have photographed.

2. eBird

Platform: iOS
Price: Free

Another app from Cornell, this citizen science tool is a must-have to quickly and easily record and upload bird sightings to the eBird database.

3. BirdsEye

Platform: Android, iOS
Cost: Free

If you’re searching for something specific in your area, this handy app draws real-time data from the eBird database. Just open the app, and you’ll see what other birders have spotted within a 30-mile radius of your location. You can find birding hotspots, and access a library of information and bird sounds.

4. Audubon Bird Guide App

Platform: Android, iOS, Kindle
Cost: Free

With more than 800 North American bird species at your fingertips, this app is a valuable resource for any backyard birder. It helps you identify birds by sight and sound, but it also draws on eBird data to help you discover the latest hot spots.    

5. The Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America

Platform: Android, iOS, Kindle, Windows
Cost: $19.99

It's hard to imagine how many Sibley fans were convinced to part with their well-worn printed versions of these famous guides. This app gives you the same access to those beautiful bird images, along with access to 2,300 recordings of bird sounds and the ability to make side-by-side comparisons for lookalike birds.

Get ready for some great fall bird-watching in your neighborhood, and grab one or two of these apps, while keeping your feeders filled. Lyric Supreme Mix is the optimal choice because it's filled with premium seeds and nuts that appeal to a wide variety of birds. 

Merlin home page © Cornell Lab of Ornithology