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Not necessarily the same bird, but I would have bet they were the same species. There were several birds flitting around the hay bales, at least one of which was an obvious Song Sparrow. 

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At the risk of sounding rude because this site is run by the iBird developers, I wanted to share a couple thoughts about the programmed bird ID idea in general and how it relates to this birds like these.

Different strokes for different folks, but I personally believe that relying on a computer program to make bird identifications is fraught with problems, and distracts from the point of birding as a whole. 

In depending on apps like this or Merlin, we’re prone to getting inaccurate IDs like this one. Statistically, it gets the job done most of the time, but it shouldn’t be the only source people use, because no computer program can now or ever will be able to make identifications like experts can- experts are irreplaceable :classic_smile:.

I also think it takes the “fun” out of birding- the challenge of pouring through sources and photos to make the ID. This way is much better for learning. Apps like this are good resources to figure out possible identifications for birds, but they don’t really teach people anything, or help them become better birders- learning comes from the challenges of research, emails to friends, and the many headaches :classic_smile:.

My main point is that apps like iBird or Merlin are good resources for identifying a bird, but nothing beats sorting through field guides, which makes much better birders in the long run, rather than those relying on a photo-trained program.  

@JP48 this is nothing towards you personally- I just wanted to give my general perspective about using apps vs field guides.

 

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Just a side note about computer-made drawings like this- they’re not always accurate either. The Song Sparrow image looks like a cross between a Song Sparrow and an American Tree Sparrow, and the Swamp Sparrow doesn’t look like a Swamp Sparrow very much at all, in my opinion. :classic_smile:

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11 hours ago, akiley said:

At the risk of sounding rude because this site is run by the iBird developers, I wanted to share a couple thoughts about the programmed bird ID idea in general and how it relates to this birds like these.

Different strokes for different folks, but I personally believe that relying on a computer program to make bird identifications is fraught with problems, and distracts from the point of birding as a whole. 

In depending on apps like this or Merlin, we’re prone to getting inaccurate IDs like this one. Statistically, it gets the job done most of the time, but it shouldn’t be the only source people use, because no computer program can now or ever will be able to make identifications like experts can- experts are irreplaceable :classic_smile:.

I also think it takes the “fun” out of birding- the challenge of pouring through sources and photos to make the ID. This way is much better for learning. Apps like this are good resources to figure out possible identifications for birds, but they don’t really teach people anything, or help them become better birders- learning comes from the challenges of research, emails to friends, and the many headaches :classic_smile:.

My main point is that apps like iBird or Merlin are good resources for identifying a bird, but nothing beats sorting through field guides, which makes much better birders in the long run, rather than those relying on a photo-trained program.  

@JP48 this is nothing towards you personally- I just wanted to give my general perspective about using apps vs field guides.

 

I hear and understand all of this.  To set the record straight (not that anyone cares), I'm not making identifications based on the results returned from Sleuth.  In this case, I was unsure of my own ID (Song Sparrow) for these birds, and ran them through Sleuth to see what came back.  I was surprised to see one of them come back as Savannah, and entered it here in an attempt to see if I'd missed something.  I never recorded it as a Savannah Sparrow.

When I use Sleuth I do it to give myself ideas to work with in order to do further research in the manner suggested.  Rather than being detrimental, I think this makes me better at making an ID.  Using this forum in this way, for me, is a way of asking others if there is a reason to believe the app over my own impression.

I was in a hurry when I wrote the original post, and should have taken the time to explain the situation better.  I'm new to all this, but should know better.  I share any skepticism toward letting a computer making an ID, but I think (for me at least), that it has it's place.  My apologies, especially for not being clear to begin with.

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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

 

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