"I was sitting in solitude earlier this summer in an Adirondack chair in my backyard, when I realized I wasn’t as alone as I’d thought.
Thanks to the app I’d just downloaded on my phone — the popular and free Merlin Bird ID — I learned just from listening that I was surrounded by more than a dozen species of birds. Where before I had simply heard birdsong, I now realized how rich the variety was in that single moment.
I ran Merlin’s “Sound ID” feature for half an hour. At first, the usual suspects for my neighborhood outside of Boston popped up: robins and blue jays, ubiquitous throughout the Eastern U.S. and easily recognizable. Then other birds, like the northern cardinal and the goldfinch."