Twitcher is the quickest and easiest way to identify, record sightings and discover more about birds in the British Isles. Available on the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch, everyone from the casual observer to the avid watcher can now carry a comprehensive bird guide in their pocket at all times! So claim the people who created it.
One feature of Twitcher is the bird identifier, which narrows down the possible species of a sighting by filtering on specific characteristics. You can choose to filter by plumage colour, size, bill shape, habitat and behaviour. Once you’ve narrowed down the list, you can use the picture and information on each species to decide which of their selection fits the bill of what you see.
Having found what the bird is, you can log a sighting quickly and easily – Twitcher will log your GPS coordinates and also convert them to OS grid references for you.
* A bird identifier function
* Information on the 267 species most commonly seen in the British Isles
* Male/female variations shown where applicable
* Sort by first name, last name, family, scientific name or conservation status
* Illustrations of species
* Sound clips to help you recognise songs or calls
* Conservation status for each species in the British Isles
* Location tracking and sighting recording
* Send your sightings via e-mail
* View your sightings on a map inside Twitcher
There is also a forum at http://forum.twitcherapp.co.uk/Opinion
All the above is fine as far as it goes and I’m sure that the recording feature will be used by some birders with nimble thumbs, a love of tech and to grip off their twitching friends but there is one big drawback… the name itself. This is NOT really the ideal product for twitchers… but is much more use to new birdwatchers. As the description points out the ‘database’ is of the commonly seen species in the UK – the sort no twitcher would roll out of bed for at 10.00am on a sunny Sunday if the birds were on their lawn, let alone crawl out of bed at 4.00am in a hurricane and drive hundreds of miles to twitch.
Not knowing this I tried it our by putting in the characteristics of a Barred Warbler only to find its not in their database and this is a scare annual visitor not a mega that a twitcher would go for.
So it can take its place in line with other apps that would be useful to greenhorn birders and those of us that need a prompt on calls, but should not claim to be of particular use the the hard core the name implies.
Moreover, if you want a truly comprehensive fieldguide on your iPod then you can get ‘Collins’ – OK its a lot more expensive but it covers Europe and gives longer text, more pictures and the songs too…