Saturday, 30 May 2015

Bird-safe mode

Summer is here, the birds are singing, and so are a multitude of bird apps on mobile devices. Playing bird calls on a mobile device or tablet may seem like a harmless bit of fun and even educational, but from the bird's point of view it is very different.

As soon as bird sounds start to play, nearby birds are distracted from feeding their young, and expend their energy looking for the phantom intruder. Most nature reserves discourage or even ban the use of mobile devices on their sites to protect the wellbeing and longevity of their birdlife. And it's also bad news for other birdwatchers who don't know if they are listening to a real bird or not.

But the problem is that it just isn't possible to use an automatic birdsong identifier without playing sounds loudly. You need to listen to your recording and listen to the matching sounds, to see if this is indeed the bird that you can hear.

That's why we came up with the idea of Bird-safe mode for Chirpomatic. When Bird-safe mode is switched on, you simply hold the phone to your ear as though making a phone call in order to hear the sounds. The best thing is that the sounds don't start playing until the device is next to your ear, so you don't miss anything. It is actually much easier to hear the sounds this way, so it is a win for the user and a win for the birds!

We are now going to add Bird-safe mode to our other apps as we update them, so that all our apps can be enjoyed with a clear conscience, without disturbing the birds or other birdwatchers!


  1. Any idea when/if an Android app will be available?

  2. Making an Android version is one of our priorities but I wouldn't like to guess when it will be done. We've not worked with Android before, so there's a lot for us to learn!