The idea for the Merlin Bird ID app was hatched at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in 2009 as we asked, “Can we create an interactive tool to help people identify birds?” Thanks to funding from the National Science Foundation, support from donors, and a wealth of data from birders, photographers, and audio recordists using eBird, our free Merlin Bird ID app has helped millions of people around the world to identify birds.
Merlin’s ability to identify birds seems like magic, but is powered by science. Merlin asks you 5 questions about the bird you saw, then draws upon more than 500 million observations from eBird to show you the most likely species at your location and time of year. You can also upload a photo and challenge Merlin to identify it using its computer vision capability, powered by artificial intelligence trained with millions of bird photos submitted with eBird checklists to the Lab’s Macaulay Library.
Merlin has grown to be the most updated field guide you can put in your pocket, complete with photos, sounds, and ID tips for 3,000 bird species and seasonal bar charts for any location at a glance. Now people across four continents are using Merlin to identify birds daily.
Your support enables us to add new features and roll out Merlin to more regions, providing a free and easy way for millions of people around the world to learn about birds.