iNaturalist is easily one of the best and most beloved nature apps out there today. A joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, this app is almost like a social network for nature lovers. Search through and learn about thousands of species of plants and animals or discuss them with more than 400,000 scientists and naturalists from the app’s community. You can even take a picture of an animal and plant and post it in the app if you need information about them, and the community’s experts will help you out.
You can also join various groups in the iNaturalist app that are centered on specific species or locations and share your thoughts with like-minded enthusiasts.
2. Audubon Bird Guide
Developed by the National Audubon Society, this app is a boon for bird lovers, particularly those living in the USA. It features images, descriptions, sounds, and habitat locations of more than 800 North American birds – all for free! The National Audubon Society has been dedicated to protecting birds and the places they need for years and their love for our feathered friends reflects in this application.
The Audubon Bird Guide also has a feature called NatureShare where passionate birdwatchers share sightings, photos, maps, and other useful information that you can take note of. You also get a chance to connect with the experts and ask them questions about certain species if you want to.
PlantNet is made particularly for the plant enthusiasts out there. This useful application helps you identify plants simply by clicking their picture with your smartphone. PlantNet features all kinds of plants - flowering plants, trees, grasses, conifers, ferns, vines, wild salads, or cacti – and recognizes them by genus or family.
Furthermore, if you aren’t sure what flora to look for, PlantNet also has multi-flora identification to help you search for the photographed plant in all the flora of the app’s database rather than just the one you have selected.
Some other features include:
* Links to many factsheets to make information about particular plants easy and fun to understand.
* A section called World of Fauna where you will find a world of information on plants of specific regions, invasive plants, weeds, and more.
* All the photos of plants you submit in the application, are collected and analyzed by scientists around the world for a better understanding of the evolution of plant biodiversity.
* No ads to hinder your experience.
If you find the Audubon Bird Guide app a little complicated to use, then Merlin will be perfect for you. Created by the experts at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Merlin makes searching about birds as fast, simple, and practical, as it can get. The app has information on more than 7,500 species of birds and has a unique feature called “Bird Packs” that provides a field guide to the birds of a particular region with photos, sounds, and other helpful info.
Furthermore, you can put in questions about a bird you just saw outside your balcony but didn’t recognize in the app and Merlin will come up with a list of possible matches. It encourages you to describe the color, size, and behavior of the bird you saw to make the identification more thorough. You can even post a picture of your bird from your phone in the app, and the experts will recognize the species for you. To make its educated guesses, it uses more than 900 million observations from the eBird citizen-science project.
Merlin is the best birding coach for beginning and intermediate bird watchers and every bird lover needs to experience it at least once.
Image source: Atmosphere
With almost all the outdoor spaces temporarily shut currently, when will we be able to experience the relaxing sounds of nature comfortably again? Well, the Atmosphere app will certainly help.
The app has a list of different relaxing and soothing sounds – categorized under beaches, forests, underwater, and many more – to help you relax and make you feel like you are right with nature even in your home. The relaxing sounds of the natural world will also help calm your mind and reduce stress in these difficult times. Moreover, there's also the option here to customize any sound to your liking – for example, adding raindrops and thunderstorms to a forest sound.
Get Atmosphere for (iOS | Android)
See Also: 16 Apps That Can Help You with Anxiety
6. Nature’s Notebook
Nature’s Notebook is an innovative app developed by the USA National Phenology Network. Phenology is the study of periodic changes in the timing of seasonal events in the biological life cycles in nature – like budburst, flowering, dormancy, migration, and hibernation. At some point, every nature lover wonders about things like when exactly a bird starts building its nest or when does the leaf of a tree starts changing color. Phenology concerns itself with these questions and Nature’s Notebook is made to help answer many such questions related to the subject.
The app encourages observers to collect phenology observations on both plants and animals and utilizes the records from professional scientists and users to create one of the largest and most fascinating citizen science projects in the world.
To begin using the app, you have to make a new account. You can then observe and record plant and animal life cycle events that you see during the year – from flowering to bird migration – or observe the information put in by some local phenology group there. There are detailed options inside for each image you upload – such as observation date, species name, color, etc. - and you have to choose yes, no, and not sure selections to make an observation.
Share these wonderful free apps with other nature lovers!