Birdgenie Help

Welcome to BirdGenie, a groundbreaking new app that enables you to identify the singing birds in your backyard. With a single touch, you can record and identify these beautiful birds. You can also learn something about their habits, listen to example songs, see pictures, and even use rotatable 3-D models of certain species.


To get the best results from BirdGenie, the recording needs to capture a clear, loud song of the one bird you are trying to identify. Ideally, there should be minimal background noise and no other birds singing besides the one.

Here are a few tips and suggestions:


BirdGenie works best if the recording is clear and loud. To help, you can do the following:

  • Record only one bird. If several are singing at once, wait until only one is singing before you stop  recording.
  • Get as close to the bird as you can without disturbing it.
  • Point the microphone toward the bird (the mic is usually on the end of the phone away from the On/Off button).
  • Hold your arm out and keep it very still.
  • Don’t walk while you’re recording.
  • Be aware of background noises such as air conditioners, lawn mowers, and strong winds.

Knowing exactly when a bird is going to start singing is tough. To make it easy to record a whole song, BirdGenie has a Prerecord feature that continuously records a short loop of about 2 seconds once you are in the recording screen.

With Prerecord ON, your final recording will include two seconds of time BEFORE you tapped the button to start the recording.

  • When you are in position, hold out your phone, stand still, and when the bird starts to sing tap the record button..
  • When the bird finishes singing, just tap the BirdGenie button again to capture the recording.
  • BirdGenie will then try to identify the species.

If the recording is clear and the species is in its library, BirdGenie should be able to identify your singing bird.
It will show you a picture of the species, a menu with some example songs, and the song you recorded.
By listening to the example songs, you can compare other songs by this species to your recording.
By scrolling down, you can see more information about the bird, along with weblinks to even more interesting facts about this species.


Some bird species sound fairly similar to one another, so sometimes the recording may not be clear enough for a 100% confident ID.
In this instance, BirdGenie will present the three species it thinks are most likely the correct ones, along with its confidence level for each species.
Compare the pictures and songs of each species with what you are seeing and hearing in your yard. You should be able to determine the identity of the species.
If you can, edit your recording with the name of the species and send it to BirdGenie. This will help us improve the program.


We are working hard to ensure BirdGenie identifies bird songs with as much accuracy as possible.
However, there may be times when it may not be able to identify a particular song.
When BirdGenie can’t identify a species it will try and offer information about any problems with the recording.

Some possible reasons that a song can’t be identified:

  • The bird is not one of the species or vocalization types covered by this version of BirdGenie.
  • The recorded song is too quiet.
  • The recording has too much noise.
  • The recording has more than one species singing at the same time.

Here’s what you can do when BirdGenie can’t confidently find the species from a recording:

  • EDIT the song to be sure BirdGenie is focused on the correct vocalization, then press the Match button.
  • RE-RECORD the bird, making sure the recording contains only one clear, loud song, without other species in the background.
  • SEND your recording to BirdGenie. It’s possible the bird you are recording is a species or vocalization type that BirdGenie doesn’t yet have in its library. By sending your recording to BirdGenie we can learn about what songs need to be added to the next update for your program.

This screen allows you to be sure BirdGenie is working to identify exactly the song you want.
In the song window you can see “handles” that define the start and end point of the target song.
By dragging these points, you can be sure BirdGenie is focused on a specific part of the recording and isn’t trying to identify a noisy section or a different background bird.
If you’ve recorded more than one song in a single recording, you can also scroll through your recording and highlight an earlier song for identification.
Once you have defined the start and end points of what you’d like identified, tap the Match Button, and BirdGenie will reanalyze the song.


BirdGenie’s catalog allows you to look through all of the species covered by the program.
Select any species to learn more about it and hear its songs.


Some species have a small “3-D” icon in the upper left-hand corner of the species page.
If you press this you will see a 3-D image of the bird that you can rotate to match how you see the bird in your yard.
The number of species that have 3-D models is currently limited, but will be expanded soon, so be sure to check for program updates.


This page presents all of your past recordings, and allows you to listen, delete, and edit them.
Tapping on a recording takes you to the Edit screen, where you can change the start and end points of the song, as described above.

You can also:

  • Add notes to the song, including a voice memo.
  • Add a photo of the bird.
  • Attach a keyword to the song.
  • Share the recording and notes with your friends.
  • Send the recording to BirdGenie to help us improve the program.

On the History page there are also several demo songs. Use them to see how the Matching process works. Demo songs are a great way to check out the app’s functions and demonstrate them to your friends.


On the Settings page you can change default settings such as User Name (when sharing recordings), Spectrogram Display, History sort order, and other settings.

Known Bugs in 0.94c


The match function is not  implemented in this version. So the species shown as a “match” will not be accurate.

Species view does not preselect the most recently matched song.


Some species photos are clipped in the circle buttons.

Some song titles are too long for the species info page menu.


There are problems with some of the window layouts on large screens (e.g., iPad).

The app is currently limited to portrait-format display.

No analysis progress indicator yet.

Some buttons still too small (edit page).

The pop-up menu buttons (e.g., the song menu in species info page) require you to tap on the icon, rather than anywhere in the label.

Pinch-zooming in the waveform view is not enabled.

Spectrogram view disabled in this release.

You can disable the intro video in the Settings screen.


3-D models initialize to wrong orientation.

3-D viewer doesn’t yet implement drag-pan and pinch-resize gestures.

The web page displays the most recent page while loading.

Some of the annotations (voice notes) are not supported yet.

User recordings are not compressed to MP3, so sending them can be slow.

The history list display sometimes shows user recordings with the wrong species labels after user selection.

Deleting a recording in the species info page should be avoided.

About BirdGenie

BirdGenie is published by Princeton University Press, Copyright © 2014. All Rights Reserved.
Core Software Copyright © 2012-14. Stephen Travis Pope, FASTLab and BirdsEar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Platform support and more by Sam McKinney and Karl Schiffmann.
Species Training Data Copyright © 2010-14. Tom Stephenson and BirdsEar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Data collection and training consulting by Scott Whittle.

Portions (CSL) Copyright © 1998-2009. The Regents of the University of California (REGENTS). Most rights granted.
Portions (JUCE) Copyright © 2014. Raw Material Software Ltd. (Thanks a million, Jules!)
Portions (FFTReal) Copyright © 1995. Laurent de Soras (
Portions (Gaussian Mixture Model) by Fionn Murtagh; public domain; see /csna/mda-sw.
Portions (FANN) Copyright © 2003-13. Steffen Nissen (
Portions (Point class) Copyright © 2002. softSurfer (
Portions (PT Sans font) Copyright © 2009 ParaType Ltd. with Reserved Names “PT Sans” and “ParaType.”
Portions (Bird species data) licensed from the Cornell University Ornithology Laboratory.

Core audio analysis and species matching technology covered by US Patent Application No. 13/841,926 – Method and Apparatus for Analyzing Animal Vocalizations, Extracting Identification Characteristics, and Using Databases of These Characteristics for Identifying the Species of Vocalizing Animals. Filed March 15, 2013 by Tom Stephenson and Stephen Travis Pope.