Birdwatching Soars In Popularity With Help From Smartphone Apps

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Technology is luring a new generation of fans to an old hobby.

Birdwatching is seeing a resurgence — and smartphone apps are helping to give it new popularity, especially among young people.

Fourteen-year-old Dessi Seiburth can identify dozens of bird species. Some, just by listening.

“I’m hearing an acorn woodpecker right now,” Seiburth said.

Dessi’s fascination with birds began after building a bird feeder for a Cub Scouts project.

“I filled it up with seed and put it in my backyard,” he said, “then the birds just started coming!”

He’s since discovered that he’s not alone.

“We have a young birders club,” Seithburth said. “We have about 20 kids from ages about 6 to 18.”

Birdwatching – now commonly called “birding” – is one of the fastest growing hobbies among young people in the United States, thanks, in large part, to technology.

“If we hear a call we can play it on our phone and say ‘is this the bird that we just heard,'” said Christopher Taylor, a Wildlife photographer.

Smartphone apps make it easier to record and share bird sightings and help identify different species in the wild by sight or sound.

As the hobby has gone hi-tech – more young people have come on board.

“When I was a kid and I was birding, I never met anyone else my age,” Taylor said. “Now you see lots of kids that are out there birding with their parents or even by themselves.”

“This is kind of like a video game actually, you look for something new and try to find things,” said Seiburth, “and I think that excites the mind of young people.”

It’s excitement amateur Audubons say is only growing – as young fans flock to join them.

Apps like Audubon bird guide, iBird and Birdsnap are free, but there are others that you have to pay for, including “Bird Song Id,” which allows you to record a bird singing and get help identifying it.

 

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