Steve Jobs Didn

Steve Jobs Didn

Michele Berger
Published: 10/06/2011

We know Steve Jobs didn’t have too much to do with birds—except, perhaps, for making possible the creation of all our favorite Angry Birds thanks to his sleek devices. But in honor of the life lost last night, we wanted to briefly pause to show you a couple of the ways he did influence birders, even if just tangentially. Plus, it gives us an excuse to talk about apples and birdfeeders, too.

First off, the notion of the app likely wouldn’t have existed without Jobs. For birders, that means no electronic guidebooks like Audubon Guides’ handy, on-the-go databases. (We wrote about these tools in our January-February 2011 issue.) Instead, birders’ only option would be to lug the wonderful-but-heavy perfect-bound volumes. By the way, other wildlife fanatics can now get in on this app action too, as North American birds are no longer the only superstars. The guides, which started back in 2010 on the iPhone and now are available on the iTouch, iPad, Android and HP touchpad, today feature butterflies, mammals and more.

In addition, these apps give us reason to discuss topics important to birders, like whether using them to play calls over and over—and attract birds in the process—actually harms the individual animals. Stay tuned for a great piece about this coming up in our November-December 2011 issue, out in a couple weeks. No spoiler alert necessary here, but we will say this: everything in moderation.

Finally, a note about apples, because, well, Steve Jobs and apples kinda go hand in hand. Sadly, they top the list of fruits whose organic form should be purchased because of the amount of pesticides used on the non-organics, according to the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. On the other hand, their seeds can be a sweet treat for birds, so says Cornell’s Project FeederWatch.

While we have your attention, a few tips to keep the birds you feed healthy:
1. Rinse feeders regularly and well. Use soapy water, then dunk them into a bleach-water solution.
2. Clean up below feeders, including yard scraps and feces.
3. Put up multiple feeders and spread them apart. That way, if a bird does get sick, it doesn’t contaminate the food spot for all its brethren.

So we somehow managed to connect Steve Jobs, birds, and apple(s). By the way, someone suggested we try to figure out which apple species the Apple logo is. Any ideas?