The superbly portable field guide from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, RSPB First Birds (Bloomsbury Publishing Plc/, Aimer Media Ltd., iOS, $4.99; PreS-Gr 2) is chock-full of information and activities for children and their families to explore. Featured in the app are common birds found in five distinct habitats: garden, river, seaside, park, and countryside. Each bird has it’s own page containing a selection of facts, a video clip, a recording of the bird’s sounds and songs, a picture to color, options for users to tag favorites and/or species they have spotted in the wild, and more.
The habitat depicted for each set of birds is cartoonish and quaint. Kids can drag and drop an endless stream of birds onto backgrounds to construct their own flock. But beware: even Mute Swans make quite a bit of noise en masse!
The app is not without glitches: the screen freezes on occasion. Not all species include videos, but the plethora of audio options (including read aloud) make this a particularly good choice for visually impaired students and beginning readers, among others.
Novice bird watchers and nature fans will appreciate the app, which will also encourage others to look at the world around them. (It may even appeal to Pokémon fans looking for a more educational interactive excursion). The UK-based RSPB focuses on quality content that aligns with their mission. Their cause is one that is worthy of support and the return is a terrific app for the home or classroom.—Caroline Molner, Worthington City Schools, OH
For additional app reviews, visit School Library Journal‘s dedicated app webpage.