FRIENDS OF ANAHUAC REFUGE
This article was originally written in the USFWS Friends Forward Newsletter - November 2013
A Birding App for YOUR Refuge
Would you like to know exactly where someone spotted a green jay or a flock of migrating cranes? What about a place to tally your own bird list right on your smartphone? Friends of Anahuac Refuge in Texas found the answer with BirdsEye Anahuac.
BirdsEye is an online source of high-tech tools for birders. The founders are avid birders or ornithologists themselves and were receptive when Friends of Anahuac board member David Sarkozi suggested a customized version of the main BirdsEye app.
For the Anahuac version, BirdsEye identified birds on Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird tracker within a 50-mile radius around the Texas refuge, including coastal birds. The “Browse Birds” section provides excellent photos (all donated by app users) of 324 birds along with descriptive paragraphs written by noted birder Kenn Kaufman.
BirdsEye Anahuac uses the Friends logo and a link to the Friends calendar of events. There are icons to hear the bird’s call, share multiple sightings on Facebook or Twitter, see hotspots where the bird has been seen or venture onto the bird’s Wikipedia page. Other links on the app enable users to keep their own bird list, search hotspots near the refuge and track notable birds in the area.
Friends of Anahuac paid $250 to customize the app plus $99 a month for maintenance, with a discount for paying a full year in advance. The project required no technical expertise by Friends, although Sarkozi is an IT professional who saw the potential. Sarkozi wants to add other wildlife to the app – butterflies, flowers and alligators. He plans to provide seasonal listings and enlist Friends to provide photos and short articles. The Friends plan to promote the app on Facebook, at their visitor center and with a big sign at the refuge featuring a QR code linking directly to the app.