It might be a concrete jungle but Hong Kong is home to more than 500 species of birds. Now, you can keep almost half of them in your pocket … with the help of HKcBirds, the city’s first cross-platform avian app. Developed by the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society and the University of Hong Kong’s Department of Computer Science, the app is full of information on the many species of birds common in Hong Kong.

With more than 600 photographs, 50 bird calls as well as taxonomic and scientific classifications, you can forget early morning expeditions with heavy bird books as a wealth of knowledge can now be delivered to your fingertips whenever you see or hear a feathered friend fly by.

Of course, if you do fancy getting off the beaten path to see some less common bird life, you might need another app to plan a successful trip. Google Maps has launched Street View Trekker in Hong Kong.

The Google geeks have invented a space-age backpack with 15 lenses that snap a 360-degree panoramic view every 2.5 seconds. With this gadget strapped on their backs, Google go-getters have trekked more than 250 kilometres across Hong Kong, from the highest peak to the most far-flung beach, and everywhere in between.

The detailed scenery of 14 hiking trails, four reservoirs and three outlying islands allows you to check out the trail before you leave so you can plan every step of the way.

Feeling lazy? You could just do a virtual hike instead – sit back and enjoy the city’s stunning scenery through your screen, playing various bird calls on your app.

HKcBirds: Common Birds of Hong Kong is available at the App Store and Google Play. To learn more about Google’s Street View Trekker, visit www.google.com/maps/about/behind-the-scenes/streetview/treks.


This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post on 10 May, 2014