How do I upload a Merlin audio song file to my first iNaturalist observation?

I cannot find instructions that answer my question above anywhere.


Welcome @elloyd525!

If you are using the app, you can select “choose sound” when creating a new observation.

If you use the website, you can select your sound file when making a new observation

Hope that answers your question, and enjoy iNaturalist!

Its also possible to share from the merlin app directly to iNat, it just doesn’t share any metadata so you have to manually input time/location/etc.

If you can’t find the option on the app let me know and I can screenshot it for you.


I tend to use BirdNET for this purpose, as it’s a bit more stripped down to just the audio recording/ID features that Merlin also uses.

My workflow is this:
Record audio
Select clip with the call I want to ID
Save recording
After identifying (or attempting to do so), an option to “share” becomes available, which is an icon that looks like this:
at the bottom of the screen. Inaturalist may or may not appear as an option in the menu that follows. If you have the app installed and it doesn’t appear, you’ll have to choose the option that lets you browse from more share options.

Then inat opens up with the new obs started for you with the recording included (and no suggested ID), and as mentioned before, no metadata, so you have to add date, time, location, etc. I really wish it would include the basic metadata like location, date, and time. It tends to work best to immediately start creating an inat observation, even if you lack cell signal at the time, so you can have inat pull the date, time, and location from the phone’s GPS. I hate that if I forget to do this step right away, I have to guesstimate the location.


ooh there is? i looked for it and didn’t see it. Will have to look again. Does it let you crop the sound?

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Okay, so these screenshots should help I think? At least on Android.

Open your sound observation and follow the red circles on the first two screenshots. On the third, you’ll just need to input the time/location/ID data- it won’t export metadata automatically from merlin, unfortunately. Usually what I do is just upload the bird song when I record it (if I have wifi) so I can just the automatic GPS location.

I don’t believe Merlin will let you edit sound files in the app, unfortunately; if you want to shorten them I think you need to use external tools.


This is so helpful! I started on Merlin just yesterday and I’ve been wondering how that works.


Just to say I had issues with a sound file obs not uploading for ages and it turned out the file was too big (but no error popped up to tell me) so it had to be manually converted to MP4 then worked fine. Welcome and all the best going forward!

Thanks! I’m on iPhone and it didn’t give iNat as an option, so maybe it won’t work. Oh well.

Oh no, shoot! I’m sorry, I can’t help much with apple

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I’d appreciate that screenshot, please!

I’m in the same place. I use an iPhone :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

It would be very useful for iNat and Merlin to work together - as the foremost apps in their categories - to make this seamless. To the benefit of both!

BirdNet allows you to select a clip of whatever length you want for your observation. If you want to trim it afterwards, you’re out of luck, though. You have to go back to the original recording and create a new observation, assuming that recording is still available.

Shoot, I even use BirdNET for frog audio recordings. Even though it won’t ID frogs, it just works so well for recording sounds and sending to inat.

The only thing I wish it would do is send the metadata (location, date, time would be good).

That really is too bad that it seems iphones are left out of this conversation, though.

Same here (also on iPhone)

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