I’ve always marveled at the birders who could go for a walk, hear some chirping in the distance and immediately identify the bird.
Wee-see wee-see wee-see wee-see. Black and White Warbler!
Kily-kily-kily-kily. American Kestral!
Pit-sit pit-sit pit-sit-pit-sit. Horned Lark!
That’s why when I was given the opportunity to demo Larkwire, a web-based app that teaches you how to identify bird sounds, I was eager to get started. This app definitely didn’t disappoint.
Larkwire is best described as the Rosetta Stone program for bird songs. It’s basically an interactive application that teaches you how to bird by ear from an engaging and entertaining game.
This is a great game for anyone, and although I don’t have any kids, I can picture children or grandchildren latching onto this interactive app. Since it’s based on the web, you’ll need the Internet and a computer to play it.
There are actually two separate games within Larkwire to maximize your learning: the gallery game and the field game.
The gallery game is where you actually go to learn the songs. It will show you four birds with fairly similar calls, play you one of the birds’ songs and have you identify it by clicking the correct species. For example, if you wanted to learn Robin-like birds, you will have to learn and distinguish the songs among the Red-eyed Vireo, Rose-breasted Warbler, American Robin and Scarlet Tanager. As you get them correct, the progress bar in the top right corner will advance. If you get something wrong, the progress bar will move backwards. The great thing is that it focuses most on the birds you’re having trouble with.