iBird pro

Hobbyists and ecological monitoring intersect with iBird, a for-purchase mobile app available to Android and iPhone users. iBird was created by Mitch Waite in 2008 as a tool for bird-watching hobbyists to use as a field guide, available as a free trial version and for purchase. The app contains information on 940 bird species, allowing users to see what local bird species were in their local proximity. iBird can also be used to identify birds based on 34 different identifiers that a user can enter on the app, like distinct colouring, sound, or the surrounding habitat. iBird is a part of the American Ornithological Union, which basically ensures that the quality of their datasets reflects current data. iBird is almost exclusively used for identifying bird species within continental North America, though in 2019 they added datasets on birds in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Hawaii, and the island nation of Palau. There is also a new feature that allows a user to identify a bird via sound using artificial intelligence, which can be done entirely offline—helpful for bird enthusiasts in remote habitats. Though a nifty tool for hobbyists, the datasets that serve as the foundation for the app are isolated to the Global North and jurisdictions that, due to an elevated socio-economic global standing, have decades of ornithological research to build their datasets and market the information towards hobbyists. While monitoring and valuing all species of birds is incredibly important, information on birds in the Global South, which includes states like Ecuador and Brazil that have some of the highest amounts of worldwide biodiversity, needs to be collected and monitored with the same rigour.


Biodiversity, Citizen Science, Data, Ecological Monitoring