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Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab of Ornithology

By Cornell University

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What's that bird? Merlin Bird ID helps you solve the mystery in 5 questions.

First, Merlin asks you a few simple questions. Then, almost like magic, it reveals the list of birds that best match your description. Pick your bird, then delve into more photos, sounds, and ID tips about your bird!

Merlin is fun and easy to use—whether you’re curious about a bird you’ve seen once or you’re hoping to identify every bird that comes to your feeder. The answers are waiting for you with this free app from the renowned Cornell Lab of Ornithology.


• NEW - Download bird packs containing the species of your region, reducing the app size.
• Created for beginning and intermediate bird watchers, Merlin identifies the 400 most common bird species in the United States and Canada (excluding Hawaii).
• Intelligent results. No more scanning through hundreds of possibilities! Merlin shows the birds near you that fit your description.
• Customized location and date tools generate best answers for your neighborhood and time of year.
• Powered by eBird to deliver the most accurate results based on millions of sightings from bird watchers across North America.
• Enjoy more than 1,000 photos of birds, including males, females, and juveniles.
• Learn ID tips from Cornell Lab of Ornithology experts.
• Listen to beautiful bird songs and calls from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
• It’s all free! The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s goal is to help you and millions of others to learn about birds.​

What's New in Version 1.1

• Download just the birds for your region, reducing the size of the app
• Initial app download size significantly reduced

Additional updates
• Search Merlin birds via Spotlight
• Scientific name shown in photo gallery
• General improvements

iPhone Screenshots

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Customer Reviews

Great app for bird watching beginners!

This application has really helped me in identifying birds and learning useful details about them. I use it all the time, and thanks to it, I have greatly increased my knowledge about birds. It is convenient and easy to use. But it has some limitations, such as not being able to identify species not common in the USA. For example, I spotted the introduced red-whiskered bulbul in the Los Angeles Arboretum, where wild flocks now roam free, but Merlin has no data on this bird, so, I had to resort to other apps to find out about it. The same happened with a wild African pin-tailed whydah I spotted in Yorba Linda, CA, a bird which is also not included in Merlin, but it is now known to roam free in some parts of Southern California. However, overall, Merlin is a wonderful tool for anyone interested in identifying and learning more about birds.

Good basic bird guide

Just started using the app. I really like the sounds and having multiple picture of the same species. The one question about what the bird was doing when you saw it gives a limited number of choices. For example, I saw a bird catching bugs on my window sill. This was not a choice, so first I tried "on the ground" but did not get any matches. Next I tried "sitting on fence or bush". This choice helped me find a bird that matched.

Gotta catch 'em all! Very nice app - please keep adding features

The promise of the app is obvious. Still it's very challenging to use for me as a beginner. I can think of a couple of things that would greatly improve the app.

It would be helpful if I could start by taking a picture of the bird I'm trying to ID for reference. Better still would be video and the ability to view video frame by frame. Furthermore it would be helpful if images of birds in the app could be placed next to my image for side by side comparison.

Lastly, I'd love the option of submitting my image to the community for those times when I am unable to identify a bird myself.

I would happily pay for these features to support this app.

Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab of Ornithology
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  • Free
  • Category: Reference
  • Updated:
  • Version: 1.1
  • Size: 10.9 MB
  • Language: English
  • Seller:

Compatibility: Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Customer Ratings

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