Birders can spend a lot of time flipping through field guides to identify different species by their pictures, but birds don’t often stand still for 20 minutes while you do so! A fun challenge is to learn to identify species by their songs and calls. This can be really useful when you’re in dense forests or when birds are otherwise hidden from view.

Our Director of Conservation & Stewardship Jesse Woodsmith knows over 60 regional species “by ear” and regularly conducts bird surveys this way! Check out the following tools to work on your backyard bird ID. Impress your friends by pointing out a bird while not even looking in its direction! If you like this topic, we can share more resources and hold bird walks/training in the future.

Play games!
Play Song Hero, a free, interactive web-based game put out by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Click “launch” to start with the tutorial and then begin the fun!

Want to see bird calls visually? Check out Google’s visual library of bird sound. Just make sure you wear headphones so you don’t drive your friends and family crazy!

Use apps!
-The Audubon App contains multiple sound clips for each species so you can look for ones recorded in regions near you. Did you know birds can have dialects? It can be easier to identify birds from recordings nearer to you because they may sound more similar!
-Merlin App
-Download SongSleuth in the App Store or on Google Play –

Learn how to learn!
This is a great list of tips for getting better at learning bird calls by ear:

Visit our Friends!

Head over and explore our good friends at Atlanta Audubon –


Just want to find out more about one particular species? The Bird Guide portion of the All About Birds website brings together photos, videos, sound clips, maps and natural history information on a species-by-species basis. Just search the species you want to learn about here:

And if that’s still not your cup of tea, you can sit down with a cup of tea and watch the live animals on these bird cams:

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