Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Spring 2020 - 10

The Virus vs. The Great Outdoors
continued from page 9

NAME THAT BIRD/FLOWER/INSECT/
MAMMAL/TREE/REPTILE ....
BIRDS
Smartphone app: Merlin 	
Developed by: Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird in Hand, LLC
This free app is designed to help beginning and intermediate level
birders identify and learn about the birds they see. Answer 5
questions about the bird you saw to generate a short list of likely
birds (with photos), based on an extensive database of bird sightings
near your location. If you have a good photo of the bird, simply
submit the photo instead. The app includes a searchable guide
under the 'Explore Birds' tab on the homepage. If you think you
know which bird you have seen, enter the name in the search
function to bring up a page with multiple photos and a brief species
description that includes important field marks and behavior
information. On this page, select 'Sounds' to play recordings of
the bird's song and select 'Map' to see where the bird is found at
different seasons. If you don't know the bird's exact name but you
know its family (i.e. duck, goose, thrush, vulture, etc.) search that
name to generate a list of birds (with photos) in that family. If you
want to sharpen your bird ID skills and learn more about specific
birds or birds in general, the Cornell Lab's 'All About Birds' website
will open the door to a world of beautifully-presented information.
Citizen Science: eBird
eBird is the world's largest biodiversity-related citizen science
project, with many collaborating organizations around the world,
under the management of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Like Merlin, it is free to use. The goal is to gather data on bird
sightings in the form of checklists users submit and to make this
data freely available to power data-driven approaches to science,
conservation, and education. Users enter bird sightings using the
eBird smartphone app offline or the website online. When you first
open the app, you are prompted to download the Bird Pack that
will generate a checklist of birds likely present for your location and
date (with photos) for use while birding. If you see a photo on the
checklist that looks like your bird and tap on it, a page with more
photos, ID info, sound recordings, and range map comes up to help
confirm your ID. You can submit photos of your birds, video, and
sound recordings if you wish. When you finish your birding session,
you can review your checklist and will be prompted to answer a few
questions before clicking 'Submit.' The date, time, GPS coordinates,
and distance traveled are captured automatically.

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Access to eBird data allows users to find out what birds have been
reported by other users recently in specific locations, which can be
extremely useful if you are hoping to see certain birds either nearby
or while on a trip. eBird automatically keeps a 'Life List' of each
species you have reported, and this list can be accessed from your
Merlin app: open the menu at the top left of the Merlin homepage
and select 'eBird Life List' to review all the species (with photos) you
have observed.
Bird Guide books: There are many excellent bird guides in book
form to choose from. These include: The Sibley Guide to Birds,
Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America (compact pocketsized guide), National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of
North America, and the Peterson series.

INSECTS
Book: Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America by Eric
Eaton and Kenn Kaufman
For butterflies only: Butterflies of Pennsylvania by Jim Monroe and
David Wright

WILDFLOWERS
Books: Newcomb's Wildflower Guide and Wildflowers in the Field
and Forest by Clemants and Gracie.

ALL PLANTS AND ANIMALS
Citizen Science project available online and as smartphone app:
iNaturalist
iNaturalist is a joint initiative by the California Academy of Sciences
and the National Geographic Society, designed with the primary
goals of connecting people to nature and creating research quality
data for scientists working to better understand and protect nature.
It is a crowd-sourced species identification system and an organism
occurrence recording tool. You can use it to get help identifying all
types of plants and animals and to track your observations.
If using the iNaturalist smartphone app, add an 'observation' by
taking a photo or making a sound recording within the app or by
selecting a photo or recording from the libraries on your phone.
It is important that the photos be good quality and include as
much detail as possible. It can be very helpful to submit multiple


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Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Spring 2020

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