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Some Interesting Ideas for Birders

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Identiflyer

Identiflyer
http://www.identiflyer.com

The Identiflyer Ultra features the songs of 120 different North American birds in a single compact player. Users can from select 4 regions and 8 different habitats! Images of each species are displayed on the TrueColor LCD screen.

The makers say: The Identiflyer bird song identification systems provide the user, from novice to experienced birder, a proven system for improving their bird song skills. Using one of the Identiflyer systems, you will be able to: Identify a bird you heard calling or singing and improve your own bird song identification skills.I would have to take issue with this. I cannot be alone in being incapable of retaining song for more than a matter of hours… so my skills remain unimproved and, in truth, I did not find it easy to identify birds in the field without prior knowledge.

I do not want to be churlish as I think this is a handy device similar to its UK equivalent as a way of dividing birds that are hard to separate on their look alone. This means you need to know in advance the two or three candidates that a bird might be and then use this device to be sure. Were I the producer I think I would concentrate on such visual dilemmas whether they be chickadees or flycatchers with similar plumages so one could whip out the devise and compare the real song with some recorded alternates.

Others might, of course, find it easier to learn by repeatedly playing these very brief clips… certainly easier to do then by re-running a tape or even MP3.Wildlife Listener

The Wildlife Listener – from Enjoy Birds More
http://www.enjoybirdsmore.co.uk

The Wildlife Listener - Viewer is a portable long distance microphone system with telescope, which enables you to eavesdrop on the secret sounds of nature up to 100 metres away. The maker goes on to say: The Wildlife Listener - Viewer gives you a delightfully clear insight into the sounds of the wild, while watching in close up through the viewing telescope. Portable, lightweight and simple to use, take it out with you on any wildlife watching trip, or just use it to listen to the sounds on the other side of your garden - you will be amazed at what you hear!

The features include hearing sounds over 100 meters away, stereo headphones, one-touch audio recording and a variety of ways of playing back or keeping the sounds. Its pretty light too!

Now to me this is a much more useful device. You can seek out a bird in a bush and record its song then play it back over and over whilst comparing it with your MP3 or CD collection until you identify the bird. This means you can not only split hard to ID birds but also identify birds which you could see well enough to home in on, but not well enough to identify by their plumage.

Its also fun to use in the field – you peer through the scope to line up the bird and it really does bring you the song or call through your earphones. I look forward to more extensive field trials when the weather allows.