Monday, July 23, 2007

A Pocketful of Bird Songs

Since I've started working at Eagle Optics, requests have steadily increased for a variety of reference materials. Of course, we value our customers' input and recently expanded our offerings in the book and audio category. Hitting the trail with your favorite pair of binoculars and one of our excellent reference books will have you finding birds you may have never noticed before. A search of book selections include choices from the American Bird Conservancy Guide, Ken Kaufman, Don and Lillian Stokes, Sibley Field Guides and Peterson Field Guides. A newer book, Birdscaping in the Midwest, will be in my library soon as I spend the winter time planning how to have a yard full of flowers and birds too!birdjam_maker_200.jpg Another new addition now on our website will expand your reference ability to the growing audio options for learning bird songs.


Whether you are a novice or technologically advanced, you will want to consider a new audio package handled by Eagle Optics. This package utilizes compact discs and a speaker system to combine with your iPod for immediate reference in the field. You start with BirdJam Maker for North American Birds, which is a software program to load on your computer. This program takes the data from the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs Eastern North America and Western North America and puts it into a format for downloading on your iPod. Package all these features with the iMainGo iPod Stereo Speaker System and you have everything ready to enhance your birding experience.


If you haven't seen the birdJam maker before, it offers features to make finding specific birds easier by using names consistent with indexes commonly listed in field guides. An arrangement of over 75 playlists by habitat and family provides simplicity in finding the bird you are searching for. It helps with visual identification by including bird photos. ref_imaingo_200.jpgTo enhance the audio comprehension of bird songs, information will also include the scientific name of the bird and a description of the bird's song. The iMainGo iPod Stereo Speaker System adds a state-of-the-art digital amplifier and stereo speakers with 30 hours of battery life in a compact package weighing only 9 ounces.


For those of you new to the concept of the birdJam iPod, you are probably wondering what application all this will have to your bird watching experiences. First and foremost, this concept makes it easy to learn bird songs with the ease of your iPod rather than constantly changing or searching different CDs. In the field you may see this system being used by a trip leader or survey volunteers to identify birds or confirm a sighting. Probably the most discussed use of audio systems in the field revolves around the issue of attracting birds with the recordings. The birdJam website offers a good article on birdJam Ethics which everyone should read and take seriously before hitting the field with this great equipment. My short review of their guidelines would be to sparingly and carefully use these recordings to call birds. The impact can be a detriment to the birds, especially during breeding season. In addition, the American Birding Association advises limited use of recordings and other methods of attracting birds. The ABA also asserts such methods should never be used in heavily birded areas, or for attracting any species that is threatened, endangered, of special concern, or rare in your area.


The demand for increasing knowledge extends from the newly graduated field biologist to an expanding group of retired birdwatchers from the baby boom generation. Eagle Optics is constantly in tune to new and compatible areas of sport optics. So call us at 1-800-289-1132 with questions or to inquire about any over the phone specials. We love to hear from you!


Kristin


Eagle Optics Staff









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