|Larkwire Home Screen, showing my progress in Beginner mode after just a couple of sessions|
|Gallery Mode - clearly you aren't going to be identifying these birds by their looks alone|
|A sample information screen - the boxes with the state/province codes are the song samples and you can select species|
The really clever part about Larkwire is the personalization. The program remembers previous sessions and progress so every time you start up it reviews previously learned species in Field mode, initially in small groups then in progressively larger groupings. Your identification skills for each species are represented by the colour of that bird’s icon on the right side of the screen. The colour progresses from green to blue to gold as you improve but also fades when you haven’t used the program or reviewed that species. Overall progress bars on the homescreen track each colour level within the overall categories of Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and Master.
|A screen capture from Gallery mode when I first started using Larkwire - green birds are ones I had learned in Gallery mode, blue are ones that I had mastered to a certain degree of proficiency in Field Mode.|
That last great thing about Larkwire is that it’s a great deal! For $25 you get 344 species and your account. That’s less money than my set of Stokes Bird Song CDs cost me and, while there are far fewer species, there really isn’t a straightforward way to actively learn from CDs - they are fundamentally a passive media.
Areas for improvement? Wiser birders than I may quibble about regional variations, song selections, and intraspecies variability but, in my ignorance, I would only long for a stand alone version for Apple iOS and OS X. An "offline" version might also include more intuitive and prominent personalization lists as well - the ability to create and save my own review lists would be handy. In the meantime, I can spend a little time every day getting ready for those spring sparrows and warblers that are winging their way to Alberta as I conclude this post.