All About Birds Blog

New! 500+ bird songs free to play on mobile devices

By on Friday, July 22nd, 2011 - 8 Comments

Free bird songs now playable on mobile devices at All About BirdsOur All About Birds website lets you listen to the songs and calls of more than 500 bird species, for free. And starting this week you can even listen to them on mobile devices such as iPhone, Android, iPad, and iPod Touch.

The new feature is not an app—you access the songs through your phone’s Internet browser. Just browse to one of our species pages, or start here: www.allaboutbirds.org. Then click on the sound files and listen as songs (or chirps, rattles, drums, croaks, or scolds) fill the air. UPDATE: Thanks to reader Mikael Behrens, who reminded us to mention that birders should not overuse playback in the field. David Sibley has some great advice that we encourage you to read.

Our All About Birds web team recently finished up a big, behind-the-scenes upgrade to our database. We’re eagerly anticipating new upgrades to our award-winning website—and this is one of the first steps. We debuted the feature to our Facebook followers yesterday and they really enjoyed having the sounds wherever they were, over wireless or a cellular network.

We did get a few technical questions though, such as Does the site work on Palm or Blackberry? Why don’t we have a standalone app? and Do mobile users need to access the site with a special web address? Our director of Web communications, Alex Chang, posted a response to Facebook and we thought we’d repeat it here for anyone who has similar questions:

Thank you for your interest in the AAB mobile experience. Because the majority of our users get to our site on laptops and desktops, we have only so many resources available for developing for mobile devices. But keep lobbying for it!

We don’t have enough staff right now to develop All About Birds apps for iPhone and Android. So instead, we’re working to make our website friendly to smartphone web browsers.

As a first step, we made sounds and videos playable on both Android and Apple iOS devices. You don’t have to do anything special, just go to http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide and use the site as normal.

We hope to develop a version of the site that’s fully optimized for mobile phones in the future. Although we don’t explicitly support WebOS (Palm), and Blackberry, as long as your web browser supports web standards and has Flash player installed, you will be able to access the website, listen to the sounds, and view the videos.

We made a special effort to make the media playable on Apple iOS devices since there are a lot of iPhone users out there (and at the Lab) and Apple refuses to put Flash on their phone. We hope you enjoy all the sounds, etc., on our site!

If you have more questions about how to get the most out of All About Birds, please drop us a line in comments! Thanks for using our site.

(Image: One of my favorite birds in the world, the Black-backed Woodpecker, now calling and drumming on my iPhone)

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8 Comments

  1. How exciting, thanks! Having bird sounds with me in the field was what finally convinced me to buy the first iPhone. It was a revelational aide to learning. I’m glad so many more people will have access to sounds in the field now.

    But I hope people make responsible use of this tool in the field. David Sibley has some great guidelines here.

    Thanks again!

    • Hugh says:

      Good point, Mikael, and thanks for bringing it up. There is plenty of debate about the use of playback in the field, but it’s never a bad idea to err on the side of less playback. Sibley’s piece is a great reference.

  2. Chatterbirds says:

    Thank you Cornell Lab of Ornithology!

  3. Tracy says:

    Great, except that I bird where there *is* no internet access and sometimes no phone signal either. I guess I’ll keep waiting…

  4. Can somebody from Cornell invent an app like Sound Hound? Sound Hound names a tune if you sing a few bars. This app would identify birds from their song. I can look up a bird on several apps, and hear their song, but I cannot aim the iphone at a bird sound and identify the bird from its sound.

  5. donald smith says:

    Is there a way to hook up bird sounds to an alarm clock so I may be awakened to a favorite bird melody?

  6. donald smith says:

    Is there a way to hook up some favorite bird song into my alarm clock (or iphone alarm) so I can awaken to my favorite natural sound?

    Thank you, Don.

  7. David Stettler says:

    How do I copy the bird sound to use in my home video. I have some stills as well as video clips that I use to produce short wildlife shows to present to shutins and at nursing homes. Many of my videos are from trailcams with out any sound so I add background sounds via my Pinnacle Home Video producer. I have some birds but not enough. For instance I want the Bluejay and all the woodpeckers, especially the Palliated or Pilliated.

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