iNaturalist is a program and app that uses both built in species suggestions and community crowdsourcing to identify and verify observations that users make. The app can make a suggestion for you about the species, or you could put in something broad like “bird” or “plant.” (The built in suggestions are not always correct, especially if the photo isn’t great, but they are often on the right track.) Other users will then be able to look at your observations and suggest, correct, or verify the identifications. Of course if you are certain of what you have observed, add as much detail as you can. And if you are good at identifying species in our area, try your hand at verifying observations others have made. Once enough members of the community agree on the species identification, the observation is marked “research grade.”

If you are particularly interested in birds, there are also some other free apps that can help you. eBird is a free app and database for documenting birds. You can use it to explore the bird observations in your neighborhood or NYC in general. Merlin Bird ID is a free app that helps you to identify birds. When you open Merlin Bird ID, it will ask you to install a specific “Bird Pack” so that you don’t have to download the whole database. Choose US:Northeast for the birds relevant to the BioBlitz.