New Sibley iPhone app

You knew it was bound to happen. Earlier this month, The Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America iPhone app was released.

I think the Sibley guide (the printed one) is the best North American field guide, and I am pleased to see that it is now available in a digital format. I will be posting a detailed review sometime soon, but in the meantime I’ve added a brief description and comparison to iBird in my iPhone Bird Guide Comparison.

Update: here is the full review of The Sibley eGuide.

Posted by Grant McCreary on February 19th, 2010.

Category: News


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  • Vegan Aurora says:

    There are many great birding applications available. Certainly they cannot be exclusive to iphone. The Android operating system should be included in application development.

  • Grant McCreary says:

    I know that the iBird app, and even the Sibley app, were originally developed for the Windows Pocket PC platform. But that never really took off, so they were ported to the iPhone. I don’t know if they have plans to take it to others, like the Android, though.

  • Phil Wallace says:

    I’m thinking of buying this guide. The problem I find with books / guides published in North America is that they don’t realise that the whole of the rest of the world uses metric units: cm / gms and all the sizes are in ounzes / inches. Surely with software it would be a doddle to convert them. I would like to know: Is that possible with this guide?
    Can someone suggest to the publisher / developer that birding is a universal passtime and we want to come to America to see birds and we want to buy their apps / books. They would sell more apps if they catered for the rest of the world as well.

  • Grant McCreary says:

    The Sibley app does not have an option for metric measurements. The iBird app, however, does give both types.

    I don’t know how the app is designed, so it may not be a simple matter to do the conversion. But it is odd that the bird’s weight is given in both ounces and grams in the print version, but the latter is omitted in the digital app.

    If you have a choice of two North American field guides that are the equal in all things, with the exception that one includes metric measurements, then I think your choice is clear – get that one. But personally, I wouldn’t not go birding somewhere just because I couldn’t get a field guide to those birds that includes measurements I’m familiar with. For example, it didn’t even occur to me not to get the Collins guide because of this issue.

    It makes sense to use one standard for measurements around the world, but that’s really beside the point here. Publishers can’t force that upon their readers, they have to serve the needs of those who buy their product. In NA, that means including our units, and metric units elsewhere. But, I agree that it makes sense to include both in all guides. It doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to do, but then again, some guides don’t include weight at all, or even wingspan for all birds (not even Collins!). But, of course, this logic would also mean including the US units in guides for other countries :)

  • Phil Wallace says:

    Thanks, Grant. I’ll have a look at the iBird app too. I’m not suggesting that NA guides switch to metric, only that metric is included as well.

    I take your point about not visiting NA just because of the guides. I do intend to visit as soon as possible and I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.

    Thanks again.

  • Grant McCreary says:

    I hope you’re able to make it over here and have a great time!
    And I do agree with you about including both. I don’t see any reason not to for most field guides.

  • Nasorenga says:

    Not everyone in NA uses inches and ounces – as a Canadian I wish Sibley’s would provide a metric option.