Teach computers to identify birds with MerlinVision

By Drew Weber November 8, 2016

Violet-crowned Hummingbird by Patrick Van Thull/Macaulay Library

Imagine a world where you can snap a photo with your phone or camera, load it on an app, and have real-time identification in the field—even in places without an internet connection. Sound too futuristic? With your help, the future can be now. Advances in technology continually provide us with new and exciting ways to analyze the incredible dataset of bird sightings and media that has been contributed by eBirders around the globe—by you.

In the coming months, we’re excited to take the first step towards automated photo identification by releasing a photo identification tool in the Merlin Bird ID app. This new tool will help birders and photographers of all skill levels to increase their field birding skills and confidence in putting a name to a bird. We want Photo ID to be as accurate as possible when it is released, and to do that we need your help!

By just drawing a box around a bird, you can help improve the computer vision algorithms that make Photo ID possible. Every image you ‘box’ helps the computer vision system better recognize where the bird is in the image, improving accuracy for the birds MerlinVision can already identify. Anywhere you go, a free app that works offline, identifying any bird that you photograph. Your contributions can make this a reality.

Help build the future of birding today