Identification: Electronic fieldguides for BC plants ?

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwest Native Plants' started by dt-van, Mar 11, 2016.

  1. dt-van

    dt-van Active Member 10 Years

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    Vancouver, Canada
    I'd like to add one or more electronic wildflower field guides to my smartphone to save lugging so many books around. I use my birding software quite a bit and find it very convenient. Any suggestions about what's available and what people have found most thorough, affordable and easy to use would be much appreciated.
  2. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Vancouver, BC Canada
  3. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    South Okanagan & Greater Vancouver, BC Canada
    ... what is the birding app that you use for BC / Alberta / WA (ie this part of North America)
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2016
  4. Grooonx7

    Grooonx7 Active Member

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    Vancouver, Canada
    The birding app I enjoyed best was one I acquired about 1950 or 1955, and which I've been using ever since. No electricity, no plastic, no wireless required. I think I was enchanted by colourful pictures (when they weren't black & white) lined up in rows on pages of books. Anyway, I wrote my own book, very very plagiarized but still a representation of 52 species of birds (including a few that were not exactly species) when I was 13 or so. That inspired a double volume to follow, as it turned out 52 was roughly the right number except for 300 species I'd overlooked.

    This app was based on visuals only. I used to advise people not to bother learning bird sounds, as the only requirement was to just BE in the forest or wherever, watching and learning and watching and learning; the birds' calls and songs would simply become part of one's consciousness.

    This app has served me well now for about 60 years, mas o menos. It is not in quite such good condition as it once was, but I have no immediate plans to collect on its lifetime guarantee.

    Of course, a person could go to Xeno-Canto
    and slowly and laboriously create his own sound collection to suit wherever he wished. Then he could acquire pictures from books or the web or by taking his own pictures, and he could slowly, slowly build his own app up over the years. This could be carried on a teensy devise and used in the field whenever. Of course, by the time the project was well under way, its use would not be required: not to the same extent, anyway.

    We used to dream of taking bird pictures such as those we can take now. We never thought it would be possible.

    The conversation about bird-ID apps go so far as to describe the possibility of a gadget that would not only contain the bird sounds and visuals, but would also detect the slightest bird sounds, even if the person carrying the app heard nothing at all. As you passed a dense bush, your little app would shout out: "Hey! HEY! There's a very rare subspecies of Virginia Rail in there!" —just because said rail was detected snoring, say. Of course such an app would be no fun at all and would ruin most of the reason for birding, but I believe people have actually already created such a thing to some considerable extent.

    I cannot imagine a lifetime without knowing birds. Is it still possible, for example, to breathe the air? On waking, to not hear Glaucous-winged Gulls and Northwestern Crows, or a flicker, or a chickadee, or a House Finch; or to walk in the forest and not suddenly realize there is an unrecognized bird singing—"Do you hear that? What in the world IS that?"—no, I can't imagine such a life.

    In Costa Rica, now twice as old as most of my Tico friends there, I am the most ignorant, the least physically strong, and the one with the worst eyesight and the worst hearing: and I love it. On a Costa Rican Christmas Bird Count, I contributed ONE single species, because my two companions knew every bird and every bird call so well—so well, indeed, that the lady present was correcting the birds in their grammar.

    It has just been one life-long privilege, knowing birds; I've been luckier than lucky. It's not a question of money or apps or state-of-the-art binoculars, although each in its own way can be fun. But the best app in the world is love. Take a bunch of that with you, and maybe a snack, and go out and never do anything that will cause the birds fear or upset or disturbance—nothing at all; study the birds and go away and leave them without any bad memories at all—and you will learn a perspective that will see you right through your lifetime.
    Daniel Mosquin likes this.

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