Some thoughts about the Merlin Bird Sound ID App 30May2023

By Bev Wigney*

I’ve been using the Merlin app pretty much since it first became available. Before that, I had done quite a bit of experimenting with its predecessor, BirdNet, and with a couple of other bird song ID apps – I think Sunbird was one of them.

I occasionally hear people commenting that the Merlin app isn’t as accurate as a human who is ear birding. I’m not going to get into that too much – I know the app has its critics. However, I use the app very frequently, often to locate birds that I wish to photograph, and have found that it is rarely wrong. It also picks up birds that are very quiet or that sing in frequencies that I can’t hear and that, apparently, many humans can’t hear.
*Editor’s note: Annapolis Valley naturalist Bev Wigney posted this piece on her FB page, and kindly gave us permission to repost it here.
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June 1, 2023 (Thursday): Insects of Asia & Australia

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Sat Apr 29, 2023: NS Wild Flora Society hosting iNaturalist/City Nature Challenge hike on Osprey Trail

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Thurs May 4, 2023: Andrew Hebda on bats of Nova Scotia

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In Kjipuktuk/Halifax Today (Sat Apr 22, 2023): The People’s Parade for Life on Earth

From EAC:

Join us for a joyful community parade on Earth Day, April 22, 2023! Let us all come together to celebrate Mother Earth, to celebrate water which is life and to celebrate our beautiful communities and our continued resistance for love, justice and life on this planet.

Date: Saturday, April 22, 2023 (Rain Date: Sunday, April 23, 2023)
Parade Start Time: 2:00 p.m.
Post-Parade Celebration: 3:00-5:00 p.m.  Continue reading

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City Nature Challenge Apr 28 to May 1, 2023

Photo from Canadian Wildlife Federation page on the City Nature Challenge

Halifax is participating in the iNaturalist-based City Nature Challenge again, this year over the days Friday May 28 to Monday May 1.

HFN has devoted a specific field trip to this event for members on Sat Apr 29, 2023. View details under Walks & Talks

But we encourage all nature-friendly folks to contribute to Halifax’s effort to document our natural world and illustrate citizen’s love of that world over the 4 days of the event (Fri Apr 28 to Mon May 1, 2023).

It’s pretty simple.

Participants photograph a nature observation of a “species” (e.g.a robin, or a flower) within the boundaries of HRM within the Apr 28-May 1 timeframe and upload it to iNaturalist. (HRM refers to Halifax Regional Municipality, now just called Halifax. It encompasses all of Halifax County.)

The only requirement on the iNaturalist end is that one must first sign up to be a member of iNaturalist, and with the photo observation provide a location (approximate or precise), and a guess at the species name.You can give your own guess for the name of the species, but iNaturalist can also offer its own guess at the species name and you can just select one. (Over time, the name is reviewed and eventually the correct is given or confirmed.)

The iNaturalist App can be put on a smart phone or computer. If the photo is taken and uploaded with a smartphone and is automatically location (GPS)-tagged, the location will be automatically uploaded – so both the location and the species name can be given by iNaturalist. If the photo is taken with a camera, it can be uploaded separately via a computer. While the photos must be taken over the interval Apr 28 to May 1, they can be uploaded April 28 through May 7, 2023

There’s lots more info here:

City Nature Challenge |Canada 2023| Défi nature urbaine

About the City Nature Challenge 2023: Halifax Regional Municipality, NS, Canada


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Wednesday, Mar, 1, 2023: AGM & Members Slide Night

AGM & Members Slide Night

Date: Wednesday, Mar, 1
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

Note this meeting  is on Wed, not our usual Thursday evening

The Annual General Meeting takes place first, where reports on HFN’s activities over the past 12 months are presented followed by the election of the next Board of Directors, including that of a new President. Then we view and hear about a variety of members’ photos. If you are an HFN member and would like to share some of your favourite nature-oriented and/or vacation digital images, but are reluctant to give an extensive talk, this is a chance to give an eight-to-ten-minute mini-presentation. Six presenters can be accommodated on a first-come-first-served basis, with up to three first-time presenters having priority. If interested, please contact Clarence Stevens by February 23rd!!

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Feb Meeting – NS Power and Ospreys – is on Wed Feb 8 (not Thursday)

The date of the meeting had to be changed as the Museum auditorium was not available on our regular meeting night.

NS Power and Ospreys

NS Power’s Environmental scientist Peter Morrison will guide us through its Osprey Management Programme covering all aspects and objectives, such as the recent successful relocation of Russell Lake’s Osprey nest, and how nests on high voltage are safely handled. With Peter’s background and experience within this environment he’ll be able to cover many aspects of this wonderful programme and its accompanying rewards. 7:30 P.M. at the NSMNH

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Thursday Jan 5, 2023, Keith Vaughan: Chemistry is everywhere! 

Thursday, January 5 – Regular Monthly meeting:
Chemistry is everywhere! 
What in the World ISN’T Organic Chemistry?

by Keith Vaughan

This presentation aims to show the audience that organic chemistry is pervasive in
almost all of our lives and daily activities.  Read more

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Rally to protect Hartlan Point Saturday Nov 26, 2022

UPDATE: VIEW CBC: Concerns raised over plans to build warship testing facility at Hartlen Point (NOV 23, 2022)

Hartlen Point in Eastern Passage “is regarded as one of the best mainland migrant traps in Nova Scotia comprised of open areas, fairways of the golf course, mud flats, spruce thickets, cobble and kelp-covered beaches, cattail marshes, ponds, bogs and alders that are used as breeding areas for some and a magnet for migrant songbirds to rest and forage. Over 250 species of birds have been documented here.” (NS Bird Society).

The ecological integrity of the site is seriously threatened by  a plan to locate a naval training complex on it.

Protect Hartlen Point – A community-organized movement to protect the thriving ecosystem of Hartlen Point and the surroundings – asks people concerned about the site to join a peaceful rally on Saturday Nov 26, 2022 at the office of Darren Fisher, MP for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour,  located at 82 Tacoma Drive, Dartmouth.   Continue reading

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HFN 2022 Year End Review   Thursday, Dec. 1

December is a traditional time for various media outlets to do a review of that year’s highlights.  It’s fun to see the occasional nature item included, but such stories certainly don’t make up the bulk of these summaries.  So this year for the first time ever HFN has decided to create its own year end synopsis.  This one will focus on the top nature news from around the world with the greatest emphasis on items that impacted Nova Scotia the most.  In this modern day world where our eyes and ears are bombarded with so much information it’s easy to miss news about the nature we love.  However, this presentation is about more than just catching up on nature highlights – it’s also a chance, through vivid imagery, to relive some of our favourite nature moments of the year.

Holiday Social  

Our annual Members’ Holiday Social will take place after the above talk.  Please bring your sweets or savouries and non-alcoholic beverages to the usual meeting area.  A subscription to the Halifax Field Naturalist would also make a good holiday gift!  Bring your money or a cheque.  Please note – there are no facilities for heating food.

7:30 p.m. at the NSMNH
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Thursday, November 3, 2022: A medical mission to an isolated village in the mountains of Papua New Guinea

At our monthly meeting, Dr. Norm Pinsky will talk about a a medical mission he made with his 15 year old son to an isolated village in the mountains of Papua New Guinea. Read more

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