Birding w/my iPhone

In these days of tech addiction, it seems always a struggle to balance how much I should use my iPhone! “Modern day birding” is no help. 🙂 In fact, it’s the main reason I can’t justify deleting social media from my phone. Ironically, an activity that otherwise immerses us in nature is wrapped up in what some consider a boon on today’s society. Here’s how birding these days is inextricably linked to my iPhone…

  • Camera: documentation through binocular/phone-scoping photography
  • Facebook
    • banner notifications for whenever a friend posts to the state’s rare bird alert group
    • checking the state bird group to see if something didn’t get cross-posted
    • share my sightings with the state birders in a timely manner if need be
  • GroupMe: a text group for quick dissemination of bird info in our area to locals
  • eBird: eliminates the need for pen/paper and instantly submits data records online
  • Sibley
    • my field guide without the bulk, offline accessible
    • the “compare” feature
    • audio sound recordings attached to each species account

So, like many things, there are of course pros and cons. Cell phones have revolutionized info distribution: I’m more likely to see that rare bird with instant alerts that grab my attention when I’m sitting at home. Then, when I go out to look I keep getting instantaneous alerts about where it has moved so I can redirect my course. Therefore, technology helps my life list. It also increases quality of records and amount of info available with camera availability and microphone, which are easier to evaluate by others who weren’t present (and also revisit). I save paper and time by submitting straight to eBird from my phone. Quick reference means more certainty with an ID.

The con really isn’t specific to birding, just the thought that it sort of enables my tech habit. Birding is my top hobby, so I always want to be connected to info sources about it. This can be a slippery slope for me, as it provides an incentive to always have my phone with me and the ringer on. It gives me an excuse to be more tied to it, which makes me more likely to engage in deleterious (or at least unproductive) phone habits. I’m ever having to mindfully check my phone use, especially where I should disconnect!

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