Smartphone apps that mimic birds are harmful, says Wildlife Trust

It is inevitable that technology and decidedly non-technological things will continue to merge as mobile devices and such become more powerful and less expensive. One such way this reality has manifested is birdsong apps, which are apps that play a specific type of bird's song, luring them in for bird watchers or photographers to enjoy. According to the Wildlife Trust of Dorset, this is harmful, and it has issued a warning against it.

This issue stems particularly from nature photographers who utilize smartphones to play the sound of birdsongs via an app, which lures a bird in closer as it seeks out the source of the song. While this is a handy way to get that 5-star image, it also causes disturbances and can be harmful to certain species, according to the conservation organization.

Brownsea Island Reserve Manager Chris Thain said: "The apps are becoming quite common, and are great, but their use needs some guidance I feel. I'm sure visitors would be devastated if they realised the possible disturbance they were causing to wildlife. We need to spread the word that use of these apps is not suitable for nature reserves and can be potentially harmful to sensitive species."

A public affairs officer Tony Whitehead elaborated on this, saying the use of apps to play birdsongs lures the bird in out of curiosity, and in doing so pulls it away from its natural, daily activities. A bird that may be busy creating a nest, foraging, or feeding young, for example, could stop doing those essential things in order to seek out the source of the kinship song it hears.

While there are no regulations yet against such activities, the Dorset Wildlife Trust has issued a public statement advising smartphone users of the trouble they could cause. As such, the 42 reserves located in Dorset have become zones that discourage the use of the apps to lure in birds, instead relegating them to education only use.

SOURCE: Dorset Wildlife Trust

Image via Vasile Bulgac