Resources for amateur naturalists

While I am a huge fan of nature, I am not terribly gifted at identifying what I see. It has been a lifelong challenge for me to learn to identify the plants and animals around me. To make things a little easier on myself, I’ve gotten very good at finding resources to help and I’d love to share them with you!

I will come back to this post regularly to add new resources every now and then.



  • iNaturalist is an online community that permits amateur naturalists from around the world to contribute to citizen science by sharing their observations and identifying the natural world around them. Identifications are suggested by the computerized database and then confirmed by other members of the community. You are welcome to use iNaturalist to identify houseplants and domesticated animals. You can join teams and challenges around the world. If you join, you’re welcome to follow me!
  • is similar to iNaturalist at first glance. There are a few differences that make it useful to be present on both sites. First, Observations is ONLY for non-domesticated species. It will not identify domesticated animals or houseplants. It is a wonderful resource for guides like me or people who want to see which species have been spotted in a specific area. Personally, I find to be a bit less beginner-friendly than iNaturalist (which is understandable as it’s the more scholastic of the two) but am gradually trying to use it as my main database simply because it’s better suited than the other for helping me plan my outings.


  • iNaturalist is one of the app versions of the website I mentioned above with the other being Seek. You’ll want the iNaturalist app if you want to contribute your observations to the database and share information with other nature lovers. It is the better choice of the two if you are an adult who wants to contribute to the global database of photos and information.
  • Seek allows curious naturalists of all ages to earn badges and participate in challenges to observe organisms with on-screen identification using computer vision for identifications based on data from the iNaturalist. It is kid-safe and doesn’t require an account. It doesn’t use or collect any personal information, so if data security is a concern for you, Seek will be a better option than iNaturalist.
  • ObsMapp
  • ObsIdentify is basically the mobile version of the website. It has more or less the same functionality of the iNaturalist app without so much reliance on the crowdsourced id’s and social networking.
  • OrnitO is a free birding application available for Android only. It has multilingual support and you can create a personalized list of birds that you want to study. It works like a virtual field guide with various different ways for you to identify the birds you encounter.


  • World of Wings is a birding game published by Swarovski Optics. It was just released in February of 2023 so it doesn’t have all the planned features yet. Unfortunately, for now, it is only available in English. This birdwatching simulator offers Yellowstone National Park as the first (free) location. There are additional features and locations available for purchase at fairly reasonable prices.

    What I love about this game is that it allows you to practice birdwatching around the world with around twenty different species to identify at a time. Within a few days of starting the game, I was able to identify about 40 bird species by sight and about half of those by birdsong alone.







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