: News

Bay Wildlife App: Is That An Acadian Flycatcher?

Play associated audio

By ALEX DOMINGUEZ Associated Press Writer

BALTIMORE (AP) If you've ever wondered if that was an endangered Delmarva fox squirrel that scampered across the lawn, or an Acadian Flycatcher perched overhead, the Chesapeake Bay Trust has a new app.

The app is a field guide to the plants and animals of the bay watershed, complete with a location service that tells you which species are found where you're standing. The guide was announced Tuesday by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the grant-making nonprofit funded primarily by Maryland's special bay license plates and an income tax checkoff.

Besides photos, the guide also has recordings of bird calls, maps showing the range of various species, and diagrams showing characteristics that can be used to identify species.

The free guide is currently available for iPhones and other Apple devices through Apple's online app store, and the trust hopes to expand offerings to other smartphones and devices, said Allen Hance, the trust's executive director.

Birdwatchers and others interested in wildlife in the region are expected to download the app, he said.

"I'm a guy who has a bunch of tattered old field guides in my truck and I love them, but I'm going to use this. I really am, because it's so handy," Hance said.

The listing for the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly, for example, shows a photo of black butterfly with orange and white spots, and the description says it ranges in size between 1 5/8 inches to 2 1/2 inches and its habitat is wet meadows in Northeast woodlands; sphagnum bogs in Lake States and hillsides and drier ridges in the Ozarks. The Sika deer, meanwhile, can be distinguished from the white-tailed deer, which is somewhat larger and not spotted as an adult.

And the Acadian Flycatcher has a call that sounds like a dog chewing on a squeaky toy.

Hance said that while the trust is known for giving out more than 400 grants a year totaling more than $4 million, the app will help the organization fulfill its mission of encouraging bay stewardship by educating the public about wildlife in the watershed.

Tom McGuire, who developed the program for the trust at eNature.com, said the app is the first mobile guide it has developed.

"Since our primary purpose for doing these sorts of guides is to help folks get in touch with nature (and then get interested in conserving it) we're hoping for big numbers," McGuire said, adding he was encouraged by the popularity of the iPhone and other Apple devices, which increases the pool of potential downloaders.

Online: Chesapeake Bay Trust http://www.cbtrust.org
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

NPR

A 'Wiener-Dog' Sows The Seeds Of Tragedy In New Film

Todd Solondz's new film consists of four episodes linked by a female dachshund, who has four different owners and four different names. Critic David Edelstein calls Wiener-Dog tragic and inspiring.
NPR

Nothing Says 'Hip' Like Ancient Wheat

Many consumers in North America and Europe are willing to pay a premium for nutritious, organic grains. That makes the market ripe for a revival of millennia-old bread wheat, some plant breeders say.
NPR

Elizabeth Warren Campaigns With Hillary Clinton, Goes After Donald Trump

In their first appearance together of the 2016 campaign, the progressive hero and Massachusetts senator enthusiastically endorsed Clinton.
NPR

Human Or Machine: Can You Tell Who Wrote These Poems?

Can a computer write a sonnet that's indistinguishable from what a person can produce? A contest at Dartmouth attempted to find out. With our online quiz, you too can give it a try.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.