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Merlin App now claims to ID birdsong


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Got the below email today. Haven't tried it yet so can't speak to how well it works. I'm awful at birding by ear though so hope it works!!  Thought others that hadn't heard would be interested too;

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology Logo
A Common Yellowthroat bird singing. Text:

As a Merlin user we wanted you to be the first to know about the newest feature in Merlin. 

 

Have you ever heard a bird song and wondered who’s singing? Well wonder no more! Whether it’s the bird you hear every day in your yard or a song you’ve never heard before, Merlin Bird ID can help you identify who’s singing. Just pull out your smartphone, press record, and watch as Merlin shows matches in real time. 

 

Merlin can now help you identify the songs and calls of 400+ species in the United States and Canada (with more species and regions coming soon). With a couple of taps you’ll unlock a whole new world of bird songs. Merlin’s newest feature is sure to improve your birding skills and give you a new superpower—identifying birds by ear. Every species you identify with the new Sound ID feature can also be saved to your life list, and you’ll be able to share the recordings you make with friends and family.  

 

Merlin’s new feature was made possible by thousands of citizen scientists who contributed recordings to the Macaulay Library and shared their bird sightings with eBird, breakthroughs in machine learning and artificial intelligence, volunteers who spent countless hours training Merlin, and our supporters. We could not have done it without you! 

 

Get the Sound ID update for iOS or Android

Enjoy the bird songs of summer, 

drew weber signature1
 
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54 minutes ago, Kevin said:

 

Yeah , haven't given it much of a try yet. It did get American Redstart without a problem but missed when I played a recording of a King Rail I have. Don't think there's anything out there yet that's going to be foolproof, the technology just isn't there yet. All for anything that helps though.

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1 hour ago, stitch58 said:

Yeah , haven't given it much of a try yet. It did get American Redstart without a problem but missed when I played a recording of a King Rail I have. Don't think there's anything out there yet that's going to be foolproof, the technology just isn't there yet. All for anything that helps though.

Part of it is that they only have ~400 species so far, and are missing many western species.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I tried it in central SC a few weeks ago.  It nailed the Carolina Wren.

It identified a second bird as a Wood Thrush.  I can't confirm its accuracy on that one, since I don't know what one sounds like.  There were at least eight sample sounds accompanying the ID, but none of the first five matched the call I was hearing.  After five, something moved in the bushes and I forgot about the app until now.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Tried it in southern BC. It got Anna’s Hummer, California and Glaucous-winged gulls, crow. Missed flicker and few gulls in background of crow recording. Claimed Peregrine x 2 different recordings. I’ll check with someone else on Peregrine, didn’t here it but lots of gulls in background. 

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I've been using this quite a bit to help learn bird songs.  It gets most of them but as posted above, misses some, not all birds are in there and has given me a few that I don't think were correct.  But most it's identified and I've tracked down have been on the money.  Mostly used in southern AZ.

But I did have an American Robin in my backyard in Reno, NV yapping up a storm with some odd song I've never hear and Merlin had no idea what it was though the recording was very loud and clear.  So I'm guessing some of the species claimed to be covered in Merlin aren't fully covered.  I had to see the Robin's mouth moving to believe it was an American Robin, I grew up with them.

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Old topic here, but I was wondering what sort of luck people are having with the sound ID these days. I never really used it since it never worked well. Tried again today to see if it has evolved much, and it performed poorly.

It picked out a nearby grackle which was calling from a phone line, then claimed northern flicker when there was none to be heard. It failed to recognize house sparrows and house finches which were both calling from bushes within a few feet from me (not much background noise either). I brought my phone inside and played some really clean recordings from the Macualay Library--song sparrow, pileated wp, and similarly common birds. It didn't get any of them. Was on wifi and have the bird packs downloaded and everything, so the app/phone/mic was working fine.

Some people I talk to really love the app. Just curious to know if anybody else has as little luck with the sound ID as I've had.

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3 hours ago, JBAS said:

Old topic here, but I was wondering what sort of luck people are having with the sound ID these days. I never really used it since it never worked well. Tried again today to see if it has evolved much, and it performed poorly.

It picked out a nearby grackle which was calling from a phone line, then claimed northern flicker when there was none to be heard. It failed to recognize house sparrows and house finches which were both calling from bushes within a few feet from me (not much background noise either). I brought my phone inside and played some really clean recordings from the Macualay Library--song sparrow, pileated wp, and similarly common birds. It didn't get any of them. Was on wifi and have the bird packs downloaded and everything, so the app/phone/mic was working fine.

Some people I talk to really love the app. Just curious to know if anybody else has as little luck with the sound ID as I've had.

Works great with my phone, and external mic.  Every once in a while it will call something off, but usually that is because too many sounds happening or it really likes the sound of my dogs leash retracting as an Eastern Kingbird.  Yesterday I could see the Cedar Waxwings, it kept ID'ing them, and I could see them on the sonogram, but I could not hear them.  I was up wind from them, and once I was down wind I could hear them.  

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1 hour ago, chipperatl said:

Works great with my phone, and external mic.  Every once in a while it will call something off, but usually that is because too many sounds happening or it really likes the sound of my dogs leash retracting as an Eastern Kingbird.  Yesterday I could see the Cedar Waxwings, it kept ID'ing them, and I could see them on the sonogram, but I could not hear them.  I was up wind from them, and once I was down wind I could hear them.  

What sort of microphone do you use? Might be interesting to try it out again with an external mic, and I've been considering one to go with my camera for videos anyways! Cheers 🙂

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35 minutes ago, JBAS said:

What sort of microphone do you use? Might be interesting to try it out again with an external mic, and I've been considering one to go with my camera for videos anyways! Cheers 🙂

Edutige omnidirectional, but I don't think my model is available anymore

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19 hours ago, JBAS said:

What sort of microphone do you use? Might be interesting to try it out again with an external mic, and I've been considering one to go with my camera for videos anyways! Cheers 🙂

https://smile.amazon.com/stores/page/B8AB125F-4708-49B6-8B96-BBD95FC37493?ingress=2&visitId=be0568a3-e9b4-407b-b1e8-2247a37c52b1&ref_=ast_bln

I have the EIM-001 that show no longer available.  I use the fuzzy ball windscreen for them.  Bought a bunch of off-brand for cheap, and they hold up well.  The weakest part of it is the Apple headphone dongle that is needed to plug it into the phone.  I've had to replace that once as I think all the bending around just wears on it too much.  

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3 hours ago, chipperatl said:

https://smile.amazon.com/stores/page/B8AB125F-4708-49B6-8B96-BBD95FC37493?ingress=2&visitId=be0568a3-e9b4-407b-b1e8-2247a37c52b1&ref_=ast_bln

I have the EIM-001 that show no longer available.  I use the fuzzy ball windscreen for them.  Bought a bunch of off-brand for cheap, and they hold up well.  The weakest part of it is the Apple headphone dongle that is needed to plug it into the phone.  I've had to replace that once as I think all the bending around just wears on it too much.  

Excellent, thank you!

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I've been using the app significantly all week to ID those birds I'm not quite sure on.  A few birds it identified that I don't think were there, probably due to all the noise.  Really only one laughable ID was a Least Sandpiper in the middle of the woods.  Other than that it has helped me ID birds before I could get a look at them.  

I'll just also add that by getting the sound ID so quickly I've remembered more calls through this week than I used to.  

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I'm sometimes annoyed because people will report unusual species on eBird and just say in the comments, "Merlin said it heard one.". For example, just today somebody reported an Evening Grosbeak with those comments, when one had not been seen in the county for over two years.

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31 minutes ago, Quiscalus quiscula said:

I'm sometimes annoyed because people will report unusual species on eBird and just say in the comments, "Merlin said it heard one.". For example, just today somebody reported an Evening Grosbeak with those comments, when one had not been seen in the county for over two years.

I might believe that. I can't really think of any eastern bird that sounds that similar to an EVGR. 

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Just now, Connor Cochrane said:

I might believe that. I can't really think of any eastern bird that sounds that similar to an EVGR. 

I don't know though, Merlin Sound ID is still prone to make mistakes, or accidentally identify sounds that are not made by birds. Also, the call of the Evening Grosbeak subspecies found here is supposed to sound more like a House Sparrow.

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4 minutes ago, Quiscalus quiscula said:

Do you hear an Evening Grosbeak in here? I'm not really hearing much. https://ebird.org/checklist/S110126066

Sonogram at 17 seconds looks really close to the sonogram in Peterson Field Guide to Bird Songs.  I'd have probably dismissed it as a House Sparrow also, but House Sparrow always seem to be noisier and calls closer together.  

I always check my brain, and Merlin against BirdNet.  I like BirdNet's percentage.  

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