Whether you live in the country and want to identify the birds in your own backyard, or you’re a nature lover who loves being among birds while out for a walk or hike, you need to try the BirdNET app from Cornell University.

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My family has a clear bird feeder affixed to the outside of our kitchen window so that we can watch birds from inside our house and for the longest time, there was a little bird who made a huge racket like he was trying to peck the plastic stand right off the feeder. We had no idea what kind of a bird he was until my husband downloaded a few different bird-identifying apps and it was the BirdNet app from Cornell that was the one to finally identify the bird.

It turned out there was a good reason for all of the bird feeder pecking because the little guy in our window was a Downy Woodpecker. Most people think of woodpeckers looking like Woody the Woodpecker from the cartoons but the Downy Woodpecker is black and white and pretty tiny.

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The BirdNET app from Cornell University is a free-to-use app that can identify more than 3,000 birds simply by the sound that they make.

To use the BirdNet, all you need is a smartphone, the app, and a bird and then technology will give its best prediction of what kind of bird you heard. It really is as simple as that. When our pecking bird came to the window, we just hit record on our app, and within seconds the app told us that we had a Downy Woodpecker. We looked at the photo and it was definitely our guy.

Knowing what sort of bird you’re hearing is the first fun step but once you know, looking up information on the bird and learning more about it is just as fun!

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