Bird Buddy Review: Birding Made Easy
The main purpose of the Bird Buddy is to spot and identify bird species using its artificial intelligence. It does this better than the Birdfy but still has its mix-ups. I get what feels like hundreds of doves at my feeders a day—in reality, it’s probably 10 to 20 of the same ones—and no matter how many times in a row it correctly identifies them as mourning doves, every so many it says they’re white-winged or Eurasian-collared doves. At least these misidentifications came closer than Birdfy’s (they’re all in the dove family!), but it can still be frustrating. I’ve had a few instances of multiple species together in photos, and so far it has identified only one among the flock.
One thing I like is that the app includes a list of birds the subject might also be, so you can easily figure out which one is right. If that doesn’t help, you can submit it for the experts to decipher. (I recently submitted some mystery visitors but have yet to hear back.)
Bird Buddy makes birding from home a joy. Not only can I figure out exactly what species is frolicking away on my balcony, but I can learn about them right there in the app. I learned that those mourning doves often snack on snails (yuck) and hoard their food (same); dark-eyed juncos aren’t very friendly (sad); and house finches have excellent memories (I hope they love me).
You can even listen to their songs, which is especially helpful since the videos don’t include sound—video is a new feature that was enabled only toward the end of my testing, and I very much appreciate that addition. I could see it being a great resource for kids but also people like me who are desperate to learn about the animals they love without going out on an 8 am birding hike with strangers.
I like that Bird Buddy’s app organizes photos and videos by species, which makes it nice to look back at later. It also makes a game of collecting birds like Pokémon cards. The way new events are presented to you, however, gets old quickly. Your feed shows that a new “postcard” is waiting for you. Clicking the postcard reveals a cute animation before telling you what species of bird was there and allowing you to cycle through the gallery that includes several photos and video.
When there was more than one postcard, which is typically the case, having to go through the animation every single time became rather annoying. I wish I could set it to do that only for new species that show up and otherwise just let me know there are new images for the ones already found. I’d be a whole lot happier if it said something like “more pigeons were at your feeder” instead of having to open six postcards each of multiple photos of the same ones.