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  1. Administrator

    BIRDING Category Topics

    Might be a good idea to add Off Topic Discussion category. What do others think. We have to be careful about attracting subjects that are too remotely connected to birding. Wildlife of North America does make sense. If I recall we had it broken down by Reptiles, Mammals, etc. Is there a list somewhere in WayBack of every category we covered?
  2. Charlie you remind me of many hero’s in novels I've enjoyed. I grew up in a San Francisco, right next to Lake Merced, which was teeming with bird life, and a mile from the Zoo, which was rich with animals from Africa. I collected birds nests, painted birds and dreamt about flying. All this was supplemented with buying army surplus electronics and disassembling equipment to keep from going nuts in 1950s American middle class As I got old enough to have a paper route I could afford to buy and build plastic models, which led to Heathkits and eventually I taught myself electronics. So I’ve enjoyed a love of nature coupled with an analog world of electronic's beauty. It was only much later in life that I met Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak and dived into digital electronics, and computer programming, which led me to become a computer book writer and eventually a publisher of hundreds of books that taught people this new skill called programming (Waite Group Press). But I never lost my love for birding. It was only after I’d sold WGP to Simon and Schuster and retired that I found field guides were useless for identifying birds right in front of me. I guess I wanted to know right then everything there was to know about the birding marvel I’d seen. Waiting till I got home? Not an option. So from this impatience, came the invention of the first personal digital assistant based field guide: Winged Explorer. I’d finally found a way to merge my 3 loves: birds, technology and inventing. Winged Explorer was a flop that eventually led to iBird for the iPhone, which became a huge success, opening the door to literally millions of people discovering the wonder of birds. That was just 10 years ago. Now the beauty of birds, their songs, are instantly available in your pocket at any moment. It’s ironic that in many ways it was exactly my impatience coupled with curiosity and a love of both nature and art that led to this remarkable device we are debating.
  3. There are so many things that an app with a good search engine can do a page turning book can't: list the species which weigh less than 0.1 oz, match just those which only honk or hoot, or find me just those species which are only found in urban habitats, are mainly brown and are located within a 10 mile radius of where I live. With 36 characteristics and a patented Smart Attribute and Value Elimination search engine, its pretty hard to for a book to beat this kind of technology. Not to mention the entire forests that are decimated to print on paper. What apps don't do well is provide multi-page spreads of illustrations such as views of a family of ducks, or views of a collection of hawks from below. <soapbox on>Of course I see this as a perfect application for augmented reality...where the app can project the same spread on a wall using Apple's new built in AR features.<off> Stay tuned 😎
  4. Sponabird -- I respect your opinions and equally value them because everyone offers a valid personal viewpoint. Let me also say I don't want this to devolve into a religious debate. I don't doubt you find iBird and other apps useless. But it's important to point out that your experiences are in the minority in this regard. Over 1/2 million birders have installed iBird and our data shows the vast majority find it extremely useful. I can verify this fact based on usage data--particularly that customers of the app use it far more hours per week than the average app, and that they use continually use it months after they purchased it. I believe the is true for the Sibley app. Merlin has a very positive following, and while it may be lacking in species details, it does an excellent job in narrowing the list of birds to just the ones you have seen. Paper based field guides are valuable and I always encourage people to own a few. But because they are based on dead tree technology and can't exceed a certain amount of pages, they are extremely limited in terms of depth. I love being able to flip tough a field guide. But when it comes to learning about a species, one small paragraph about a bird is just too little information. Range maps the size of a postage stamp are not very useful. Not being able to hear the bird songs or calls, zoom in on an illustration, turn field mark layers on and off are all missing from paper based filed guides and found in iBird and other apps. Being able to use a powerful search engine to narrow down my choices is an amazing feature no book can offer. And of course being able to have an app show me just the birds located within a specific radius of my GPS location using Birds Around Me, puts apps far ahead of page turning.
  5. I think your problem with using an iPhone camera may be one that is shared by many others. I personally prefer a larger body camera with anti shake and a large lens. The problem is the rule we have heard many times: "the best camera is the one you have with you." Since I almost always have my iPhone in my pocket, it follows there is always high resolution camera almost instantly available. The cameras found in smartphones has been improved at such a stunning pace that the market share for single use DSLR cameras has dramatically shrunk. At the pace smartphone cameras are improving I believe it's safe to project they will soon be irresistible to use in bird photography. I'm waiting mainly for improvements in lenses, particularly a way to add a telephoto lens without greatly greatly increasing the bulk of the phone. I point this out because when I zoom in on a bird at some distance the shaking of my hands create a real issue in the final result. This is such an interesting topic, I'm wondering Charlie, if you think it be useful to make it a separate post? Such as "What's wrong with smartphone cameras for bird photography?"
  6. atxrvabyrd (is that a name?). I think you hit on one of the distinguishing field marks. There are apparently about 5 of them and it sounds like this is indeed a real hybrid! The details below are from Jerry Connolly, who is one of the experts who knows about this unusual bird, and runs the Audubon Shop in Madison CT. Note he says this bird has appeared at Hammonsset for the last five years! From: Jerry Connolly Date: Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 1:33 PM To: Mahlon Hale Subject: Re: No, this is not my bird.hybrid though of tri and little blue at Hammonaset state park Madison CT The Tri-colored traits of this bird are: 1 Extremely long bill and neck 2 Yellow lores 3 More than a hint of white throat/neck stripe 4 White "thighs" At least one LBHE X TRHE (or the progeny of) has appeared at Hammonasset SP for at least five years. Pretty cool, no? Jerry Connolly <(` ) ( >)~ /\ The Audubon Shop 907 Boston Post Rd Madison, CT 06443 Hrs. M-Sat 10-5pm ET Sun 12-4pm ET 203.245.9056 888.505.9056 www.theaudubonshop.com email: birdshop@sbcglobal.net Connect with us on social media! on FB: The Audubon Shop Instagram: @AudubonShop Twitter: @audubonshop
  7. Can anyone look at this photograph and leave a comment on the thread for the question (e.g. not here)?
  8. Photo Sleuth cam up with these percentages for this photo Tricolored Heron, 58% Little Blue Heron, 33% Snowy Egret, 3% The customer claims its a hybrid, which seems like a stretch. Thoughts? Mitch
  9. Bee_keeper, great example of a colorful way tech has disrupted an art form, here digital synths altering the analog world of instruments. Its a perf example because it expanded the boundaries of what we call music in such unexpected ways. It gave rise to incredible new groups, like Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Daft Punk.
  10. Charlie please don't put your soapbox in the truck, leave it out and stand on it as often as you can. Everything you say is thoughtful and accurate and if there is any confusion, its all on me. I hope we hear from some of the other birding experts (and beginners too) about this subject because I feel its extremely important. Did you guys watch the Elon Musk interview video? Its really cool, you can get an idea of how different and the same he is as Steve Jobs.
  11. Charlie fears like yours are not unusual, and in fact are pretty typical of what we hear whenever a new technology is introduced. When automobiles started replacing horses, I am sure people said "how will we connect with the outdoors if everyone is stuck inside these steel boxes?" And in a way they were in correct, cars did disconnect us from nature. But they they also opened us up to traveling huge distances to visit nature is places we may never have seen. So there is always a tradeoff. Bird Brain I like your reaction, its wise and shows insights. The funny thing is you can't stop technology. You can personally resist it, and many people do. But it marches ahead because humans love change, advancement, being different, pushing boundaries. As I said in my linked message, I'm not going to try and convince anyone that iBird Photo Sleuth is better or worse than experts at identifying birds. But I do think its very easy for advanced birders to get into a man vs machine thought pattern and that is really a waste of time. What we are seeing with our customers of Sleuth, and pretty much what I expected, is that Photo Sleuth is introducing a large group of beginners to birding, people who may not have had the confidence to jump in or even known what birding was. It's not unlike what iBird Pro accomplished" have people who never opened a field guide falling in love with birds. You have kids who are withdrawn with autism falling in love with bird songs. These are only the early embryonic days of Machine Learning and AI, and given the extraordinary results we are seeing with Sleuth, it's easy to extrapolate that its just going to get better and better. I would be much more concerned about how AI is creeping in other parts of our life than an app that helps beginners be better birders. To this end if you want to have your mind blown I suggest you watch the interview between Joe Rogan and Elon Musk on YouTube. The press made a big deal about Elon smoking pot, but that misses the entire value of the discussion. Elon calmly presents some serious questions about what happens when AI gets so smart it starts influencing our world in more major ways. If you are a fan of the Matrix you'll love this video. Joe Rogan Experience #1169 - Elon Musk
  12. Is AI going to ruin birding as a hobby? I'd love to hear your opinions.
  13. Administrator

    Sparrows in VT

    I'm not going to try and convince anyone that iBird Photo Sleuth is better or worse than experts at identifying birds. But I do think its very easy for advanced birders to get into a man vs machine thought pattern and that is really a waste of time. What we are seeing, and pretty much what I expected, is that iBird Photo Sleuth is introducing a large group of beginners to birding, people who may not have had the confidence to jump in. It's not unlike what iBird Pro has accomplished. You have people who never opened a field guide falling in love with birds. Our goal was to come up with a way to make birding more attractive to a wider audience, and from reading the reviews of the app, I think I can say "mission accomplished". I've attached some of the reviews and if you take time to read them you can get a much better idea of how the app is helping. Again not a panacea but an aid that opens new doors to our hobby. These are only the early embryonic days of Machine Learning and given the extraordinary results we are seeing with Sleuth, it's easy to extrapolate that its just going to get better and better. I would be much more concerned about how AI is creeping in other parts of our life than an app that helps beginners be better birders. To this end if you want to have your mind blown I suggest you watch the interview between Joe Rogan and Elon Musk on YouTube. The press made a big deal about Elon smoking pot, but that misses the entire value of the discussion. Elon calmly presents some serious questions about what happens when AI gets so smart it starts influencing our world in more major ways. If you are a fan of the Matrix you'll love this video. Joe Rogan Experience #1169 - Elon Musk
  14. Administrator

    White-eyed Vireo? [iBird Sleuth]

    Okay Nuts to this photo then 🦋
  15. Administrator

    Brant? {iBird]

    Sleuth thinks its a Brant. Or Not a Bird. What do you think? Thanks Mitch
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