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The top applications for nature enthusiasts – ranging from identifying bird calls to monitoring lion movements.


With a phone in hand, you have access to endless possibilities, whether it be identifying animal tracks or capturing the sound of elusive birds. Additionally, your observations can play a crucial role in scientific research and conservation efforts worldwide. While phones are often criticized for taking away from our surroundings, they can also serve as a means to connect with nature. Here’s how it works.


Great for inquisitive children who love to classify various plants, animals, and fungi they encounter: simply snap photos with your phone and Seek’s AI will recognize the species and provide interesting facts. The app will also recommend common species to search for based on your location and offer themed challenges all year round, allowing you to explore everything from decomposers to urban wildlife or pond creatures and pollinators. For older kids and adults, the leading iNaturalist app connects you with a worldwide network that can verify your observations, making it an excellent resource for local bioblitz surveys.

This item is available at no cost. It is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

A magnolia warbler songbird sings on a spruce branch in Ontario, Canada


Can you identify songbirds, specifically the Magnolia Warbler, using ChirpOMatic? Do you enjoy listening to the morning bird songs but struggle to recognize them? With ChirpOMatic, you can listen to a soundscape and learn to distinguish between different bird calls, such as a bunting and a blackbird. The app also has a “bird-safe mode” on iPhones, where you can hold your phone to your ear like a phone call and avoid disturbing nesting or breeding birds with playback recordings. Developed by scientists, this user-friendly app can recognize birdsongs in western Europe, North America, the Caribbean, and Australia.

£3.99. iOS and Android

Animal Tracker

Track wild animals in real-time through an online interactive mapping tool called Movebank Research Database. You can follow the migrations of various animals, such as tagged kittiwakes and lions, and also log your own sightings. This valuable resource is hosted by the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behaviour and is a great way to learn about animal movements and contribute to conservation efforts worldwide.

No cost. Compatible with iOS and Android systems.

Animal Tracker allows you to trace the movements of wild animals


If you are an avid birdwatcher who prefers using checklists, this application is perfect for you. With support for 27 languages, eBird allows you to keep track of your list of wild bird sightings by year, location, or as you choose. You can also discover popular birding spots in your vicinity and log sightings while on the go. The real-time eBird notifications are particularly helpful if you are trying to spot a rare bird.

Free. iOS and Android


Take photos of unique plants in your garden, hedges, and forests to recognize them. The application functions most effectively when you concentrate on a single plant at a time. Simply tap on a leaf, flower, fruit, or bark to assist the app in classifying your plant. Then, LeafSnap will analyze your picture and display the closest matches. If there are multiple options, it is your responsibility to compare and identify your plants. The paid version does not have bothersome pop-up advertisements and includes additional features such as plant care tips. You can also utilize the app to remind you of plant care routines, ensuring that you do not forget to water or fertilize them.

The ad-free version is available for free or at a monthly cost of £3.59 on both iOS and Android platforms.

Marine Scientist Angela Stevenson of GEOMAR picks flowering seagrass in Laboe, Germany

Seagrass Spotter

If you are engaged in activities such as swimming, rockpooling, kayaking, or diving in the shallow waters near the coast, you may be curious about the grassy meadows below you. These areas are home to seagrasses, the only types of flowering plants that can survive in seawater. Restoring these underwater habitats is crucial for the health of our oceans. By using the Seagrass Spotter app, individuals can report sightings of seagrass from anywhere in the world. This app, created by marine conservation charity Project Seagrass, makes it simple to identify different types of seagrass. Users can even document the absence of seagrass, as they are at risk of damage from activities such as trampling and pollution. The data collected through this app is used by marine scientists to improve our understanding of seagrass distribution and to aid in its protection.

Both iOS and Android are available for free.

SkyView Lite

Discover the stars and constellations above you by opening your tablet or smartphone camera and pointing it towards the night sky. This app also allows you to identify the International Space Station and distant planets. Keep it on night mode to protect your night vision. It can be used without wifi, making it convenient for campers and hikers in remote areas.

Available for free on both iOS and Android devices.

WWF Forests

This option from environmental charity World Wide Fund for Nature is a fun way to experience nature without leaving your home. The Forests app uses augmented virtual reality to take you on a virtual tour of temperate forests. As you move the screen around, you can click on symbols to learn more about forests and the threats facing the wildlife that lives there. Throughout the journey, you will encounter tree monkeys and tigers, and ultimately you can create your own forest.

Free. iOS only

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Source: theguardian.com