WhatBird is an app for smartphones that can help you identify songbirds. You hear a bird sing and record the sound with your phone. If the app recognizes the song, it stops recording and suggests one or more species. Then you must compare your own recording with WhatBird’s suggestion – is it the same bird? The intention is not to always give a correct answer, but an indication that may help you find out what bird you just heard. WhatBird has been trained to recognize 22 of the most common songbirds in Norway. The app is developed in collaboration with human speech recognition researchers at NTNU, who were enthusiastic about trying to use the same kind of recognition technology on birds. In addition, we have had a close collaboration with the Norwegian Environment Agency that have contributed with necessary ornithology competence and helped making the app visible and available for as many users as possible.

WhatBird was first released in spring 2016 and was downloaded by almost 100 000 users in Scandinavia during the first year. After the first summer, we gathered the recordings made by users to make the recognition system even better for the 2017 season – because more reference sounds make the recognition technology more precise. In 2017, we also released WhatBird+, where you can save your recordings if you are offline and want to do the recognition later. WhatBird was developed with funding from the Research Council of Norway and the Norwegian Environment Agency.



#whatbird = a nice tour companion, kind of #shazam for songbirds