Sunday, June 16, 2019

Warbler Guy, what's Bird Genie and which bird apps are also a good idea to buy?

Joe (in Seattle)...Good question, as I often get asked by birders this same question.

As you may know already, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology recently published Bird Genie, an app that uses sound recognition to suggest the ID of birds after you record them.

It works well from reports I've read, but it's limited in the number of individuals that can correctly be identified.

For beginning birder, I imagine it's "cool," a wondrous invention.

But for evolved birders, I doubt much value can be secured.


Because their ears are typically trained for "ID By Ear" beyond the level of Bird Genie, in my humble opinion.

That's not to suggest future iterations of Bird Genie may not be worth buying.

It's simply the current version is not "Thumbs Up" yet for me to recommend.

Just my two cents....or, perhaps more apt: Just my SAVED two cents.
(I think Bird Genie is $9.99 (?) )

As for other apps, I use iBird Pro and Sibley Birds. Both are wonderful.

Regards and happy birding....Daniel Edelstein, Birding Guide & Avian Biologist (& College

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Warbler Guy, I seek Hermit Warbler in CA. Where shall I go? How about Black-throated Gray Warbler? Where would you take us to find these West Coast warblers?

James (in Ohio):

Good questions, with several places worth sleuthing to find your elusive, yet common wood-warbler species.

Let's focus on Marin Co.* where I live and conduct regular birding tours (* = I live 20 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge).

First, Hermit Warbler typically nest in conifer trees such as Douglas Fir and Coastal Redwood.

Hence, these habitats are plentiful in Marin Co. (and n. CA), but the best spot I pursue for hearing AND seeing Hermit Warbler: Bolinas-Fairfax Road.

It begins in Fairfax (in central Marin Co.) and winds through beautiful, solitude-filled habitat toward the coast where it ends near Bolinas, CA.

Approximately 2 miles after the golf course on this road (as you ascend it from Fairfax), Douglas Fir habitat becomes thicker, thus attracting Hermit Warbler.

As for Black-throated Gray Warbler, I usually detect this common wood-warbler in dry forested habitat where major expanses of dense Madrone, Coast Live Oak, and CA Bay trees grow, along with other co-dominant species.

A good venue for this species: Cascade Canyon near Fairfax....or, again, Bolinas-Fairfax Road within the same Douglas Fir areas.

Feel free to let me know if you have other questions.

Always glad to help.

My birding tours to the aforementioned areas in 2019 to date yielded several views of these two wood-warbler species, I'm happy to report (and they are two of my FAVORITE wood-warbler species).

Regards, Daniel Edelstein

Birding Guide,

Avian Biologist,

College Instructor (Merritt College)


Certified Wildlife Biologist Asc.
(hosts my resume)