top of page
  • Writer's pictureMelissa Rosales

Boston Globe: Eight free apps for modern-day naturalists

Updated: Sep 25, 2020

Identify birds, animals and plants, and even smarten up your stargazing, with these fun smartphone apps.

BIRDS 1. Audubon Bird Guide Identify birds, track sightings, and get notified when a bird on your watch list is nearby. You can also hear calls and learn about species with in-depth descriptions. Free on iOS and Android

2. Merlin Bird ID Want to know what type of bird you’re looking at? After answering a few simple questions, this app developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology suggests possible matches to an observation. If that’s not enough, snap a photo of the bird, and Merlin will identify it using artificial intelligence. Free on iOS and Android


3. Sky Guide

Point your phone to the stars, and experience an augmented reality view of the sky with this app, which lets you search for celestial bodies and be notified of the next meteor shower. You can also travel through time to see the sky the moment you were born or get a look at where the moon will be in the future. $2.99 on iOS

4. Star Walk 2

See a map of the sky in real time, and discover astronomical events visible to you. With an in-app purchase, enjoy 3-D models of constellations, and read their mythology stories. A separate kid-friendly version offers educational astronomy games and cartoons about space. Free on Android (with ads), $2.99 on iOS


5. iNaturalist

Take a photo of a spotted critter or mysterious plant, and share it with a community of over 400,000 scientists and naturalists who will help identify it for you. You can also find research quality observations posted by naturalists nearby. Free on iOS and Android

6. SEEK BY iNaturalist

The kid-focused Seek app is like Pokémon GO for nature. The app helps identify photos of mammals, mollusks, insects, birds, reptiles, fish, and plants, and awards badges. Free on iOS and Android

7. PictureThis

Discovered a beautiful flower and wondered what it was? Just upload a photo, and learn its name instantly. The app, which claims to identify 10,000 species with 98 percent accuracy, also offers plant care tips. Free on iOS and Android (with ads)

8. PlantSnap

Upload a photo to identify 625,000 plants, flowers, mushrooms, and trees. Powered by, the app connects users to share tips, and shows augmented reality animations of plants. Free on iOS and Android (with ads)

15 views0 comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page