If after reading our tips for better bird photography you ran straight to the woods with your camera, then this new software could be a great addition to your app arsenal. Merlin Bird Photo ID can identify bird species from a single image.
The site was created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Visipedia research project, and as of now can recognize 400 of the most common birds in the United States and Canada.
After you have taken a photo, you simply draw a box around the bird in the image, click on its bill, eye, and tail, and tell the program where you took the photo.
Merlin uses the eBird.org database containing more than 70 million bird sightings to identify specific species. The program will then present you with the top three matches to your image, including photographs and sounds from the birds.
“It gets the bird right in the top three results about 90 percent of the time, and it’s designed to keep improving the more people use it,” Jessie Barry, the Merlin Project Leader at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, said in a statement, “That’s truly amazing, considering that the computer vision community started working on the challenge of bird identification only a few years ago.”
The website is currently free to use, and a mobile app is apparently in the works. If image identification is your thing, check out these other programs that identify images from leaves to calories and everything in between.