Allan Cruickshank was a renowned National Audubon Society lecturer, photographer and author who co-published several books and field guides with his wife, Helen. Along with his cohorts–most notably bird guide author and illustrator Roger Tory Peterson—he transformed bird and nature watching from a fringe interest to a popular, easy accessible, mainstream pastime.
A group at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology developed a sophisticated facial recognition software specially designed to identify birds for photos. Called the Merlin Bird Photo ID, the software works its magic by employing a combination of image recognition algorithms, deep learning techniques (so it learns from its mistakes and gets better in time) and human collaborators who upload photos and help the software by first identifying the key features that makes a species distinct. The team is now working at turning the software into an app, so that anyone with a smartphone can take photos of a lingering avian wonder then instantly come to know which species it is.