Help

FAQs

Welcome to BirdGenie, a groundbreaking new app that enables you to quickly and easily record and identify singing birds around you.. You can also learn something about their habits, listen to example songs, browse pictures, and even view rotatable 3-D models of certain species.

HOW TO GET THE BEST RESULTS

To get the best results from BirdGenie, the recording needs to capture a clear, loud song of the one bird you are trying to identify. Ideally, there should be minimal background noise and no other birds singing at the same time.

  • Here are a few tips and suggestions:
  • Try and get as loud a recording as possible
  • BirdGenie works best if the recording is clear and loud. To help, you can do the following:
  • Record only one bird. If several are singing at once, wait until only one is singing before you start recording.
  • Get as close to the bird as you can without disturbing it.
  • Point the microphone toward the bird (the mic is usually on the end of the phone away from the On/Off button).
  • Hold your arm out and keep it very still.
  • Don’t walk while you’re recording.
  • Be aware of background noises such as air conditioners, lawn mowers, andwind.
Try and get as loud a recording as possible

BirdGenie works best if the recording is clear and loud. To help, you can do the following:

  • Record only one bird. If several are singing at once, wait until only one is singing before you stop  recording.
  • Get as close to the bird as you can without disturbing it.
  • Point the microphone toward the bird (the mic is usually on the end of the phone away from the On/Off button).
  • Hold your arm out and keep it very still.
  • Don’t walk while you’re recording.
  • Be aware of background noises such as air conditioners, lawn mowers, and strong winds.

 

How to record a singing bird

Knowing exactly when a bird is going to start singing is tough. To make it easy to record a whole song, BirdGenie has a Pre-record feature that continuously records a short, 2-second loop once you are in the recording screen.

That means that with Pre-record, your final recording will include two seconds of time BEFORE you tapped the button to start the recording.

When you are in position, hold out your phone, stand still, and when the bird starts to sing tap the record button.

When the bird finishes singing, just tap the BirdGenie button again to capture the recording.

BirdGenie will then try to identify the species.

Results when BirdGenie is not 100% sure

Some bird species sound fairly similar to one another, so sometimes the recording may not be clear enough for a perfect ID.

In this instance, BirdGenie will present the few species that most closely match your recording.

Compare the pictures and songs of each species with what you are seeing and hearing. You should be able to determine the identity of the species.

And of course anonymously sharing your recordings will help us learn more about different variations for a particular species.

Results when BirdGenie can't identify a singing bird

We are working hard to ensure BirdGenie identifies bird songs with as much accuracy as possible.

However, there may be times when it may not be able to identify a particular song.

When BirdGenie can’t identify a species it will try and offer information about any problems with the recording.

Some possible reasons that a song can’t be identified:

  • The recorded song is too quiet.
  • The recording has too much noise.
  • The recording has more than one species singing at the same time.
  • The bird is not one of the species or vocalization types covered by this version of BirdGenie.

Here’s what you can do when BirdGenie can’t confidently find the species from a recording:

  • TAP the TELL ME MORE button. By answering three or four quick questions you can help BirdGenie eliminate overlapping species or narrow down the possible candidates in a noisy environment.
  • EDIT the song to be sure it is cropped to the correct part of the recording.
  • RE-RECORD the bird, making sure the recording contains only one clear, loud song, without other species in the background.
  • SEND your recording to BirdGenie. It’s possible the bird you are recording is a species or vocalization type that BirdGenie doesn’t yet have in its library. By sending your recording to BirdGenie we can learn about what songs need to be added to the next update for your program.

 

The Locate Song Screen

This screen allows you to be sure BirdGenie is working to identify exactly the song you want.

In the song window you can see “handles” that define the start and end point of the target song.

By dragging these handles, you can be sure BirdGenie is focused on a specific part of the recording and isn’t trying to identify a noisy section or a different background bird.

If you’ve recorded more than one song in a single recording, you can also look through your recording and highlight a different song for identification.

Once you have defined the part of the recording you’d like identified, tap the Match Button, and BirdGenie will reanalyze the song.

 

The Noise Filter Screen

Using BirdGenie’s sophisticated noise-reduction features, you can find the identity of singing birds even in fairly noisy environments, especially when the noise is low-frequency. People talking, traffic or even lawn mowers are good examples of noises that can be removed so BirdGenie can get a confident ID from an otherwise noisy recording.

On the Noise Filter screen, just raise the red line to just below the song you have recorded to screen out lower noises. It’s fast and easy and will allow you to use the app in less than optimal environments.

The Catalog

BirdGenie’s catalog allows you to look through all of the species covered by the app.

Select any species to learn more about it and hear its songs.

 

3-D Images

3-D Images

Some species have a small “3-D” icon in the upper right-hand corner of the species page.

If you press this you will see a 3-D image of the bird that you can rotate to match how you see the bird in your yard.

Not all species have 3-D models, but we will be adding more, so be sure to check for program updates.

Song History Page

This page gives you access to all of your past recordings, and allows you to listen to, delete, rematch and share them.

Tapping on a recording takes you to the Locate Song screen, where you can change the start and end points of the song, as described above.

You can also, share the recording with your friends, and send the recording to BirdGenie to help us improve the app.

 

Settings Page

On the Settings page you can opt to anonymously share your recordings to a database available to scientists.

Here you can also share your location with BirdGenie. That will help improve your results. If you don’t share your location then you will be asked to choose the state you are in from a simple drop-down menu.

 

About BirdGenie

BirdGenie is published by Princeton University Press, Copyright © 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Core Software Copyright © 2012-14. Stephen Travis Pope, FASTLab and BirdsEar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Platform support and more by Sam McKinney and Karl Schiffmann.

Species Training Data Copyright © 2010-14. Tom Stephenson and BirdsEar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Data collection and training consulting by Scott Whittle.

Portions (CSL) Copyright © 1998-2009. The Regents of the University of California (REGENTS). Most rights granted.

Portions (JUCE) Copyright © 2014. Raw Material Software Ltd. (Thanks a million, Jules!)

Portions (FFTReal) Copyright © 1995. Laurent de Soras (http://ldesoras.free.fr/prod.html).

Portions (Gaussian Mixture Model) by Fionn Murtagh; public domain; see http://www.classification-society.org /csna/mda-sw.

Portions (FANN) Copyright © 2003-13. Steffen Nissen (http://leenissen.dk/fann/wp).

Portions (Point class) Copyright © 2002. softSurfer (www.softsurfer.com).

Portions (PT Sans font) Copyright © 2009 ParaType Ltd. with Reserved Names “PT Sans” and “ParaType.”

Portions (Bird species data) licensed from the Cornell University Ornithology Laboratory.

Core audio analysis and species matching technology covered by US Patent Application No. 13/841,926 – Method and Apparatus for Analyzing Animal Vocalizations, Extracting Identification Characteristics, and Using Databases of These Characteristics for Identifying the Species of Vocalizing Animals. Filed March 15, 2013 by Tom Stephenson and Stephen Travis Pope.