May 23, 2013
Written by Jack Sanders
Thursday, 21 August 2008 09:40
Ed Kanze, who knows a good field guide when he sees one, offers his thoughts on the new, heavyweight Peterson Field Guild to Birds of North America in his column this week. While he's full of enthusiasm for the new edition, he says it’s too big for his back pocket — and that it is. You’d need pockets in size-54 overalls even to squeeze this volume in.
And there’s also the weight. The new Peterson weighs a hefty two and one-half pounds while my old Petersons (Eastern Region) were a mere one pound, one ounce in paperback and one pound, three ounces in hardcover.
However, this field guide has an almost weightless supplement — or at least, one that weighs as much as your mp3 player.
By simply registering at the Peterson Field Guides Web site, you gain access to more than 30 downloadable podcasts, each between three and five minutes long, that are like short lessons in species or genera of birds. They can be played on your computer — or better yet, on your mp3 player, such as an iPod, where they can be viewed anywhere.
The videos pack in a lot of information in a relatively small amount of time, and with nicely done dialogue. Produced by Jeffrey A. Gordon and Bill Thompson III (Bill is editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest), the narrated videos contain many, often spectacular photos and drawings, a lot of identification techniques, range maps, and even discussions of history and conservation status.
Perhaps best of all, each video includes the sounds of the birds described — something no book on paper can provide. The calls and songs are from the collection of Lang Elliott, who has been recording North American birds in the wild for many years.
If you download all the podcasts, you will wind up with more than three hours of instruction in wild bird natural history and identification. Because the videos work well on an iPod or other video-capable mp3 player, you can stick this “book” in your smallest pocket, and enjoy it anywhere — even in the field.
Another advantage of the videos is that they can offer many more illustrations — both drawn and photographed — than can fit even in Peterson’s 2.5 pounds of paper.
You can sample the podcasts at www.rogertorypeterson.com.
Allen’s Meadow off Route 7 in Wilton is one of the best birding spots in Fairfield County. Now, reports Luke Tiller, a checklist of birds that have been seen at Allen’s Meadow is available.
The checklist, an Adobe PDF that can be downloaded and printed out with ease, shows the species, seasons when they are apt to be seen, and how common — or uncommon — they are.
You will find the checklist on the Wilton Conservation Commission Web page: wiltonct.org/departments/conservation0.html
HawkWatch Weekend Festival, bird-themed workshops, walks, games, shows, raptor counting, ‘green’ vendors, and much more, Sept. 13 and 14, Audubon Greenwich and Quaker Ridge Bird Club, 613 Riversville Road, Greenwich, 203-869-5272 x239.
Bird Watching Cruises on Long Island Sound and Norwalk Harbor, with Larry Flynn, wildlife conservationist, Saturdays from 7:30 to 10:30, aboard 40-passenger ferry, $20, Norwalk Seaport Association, from Seaport dock, Water Street, 203-838-9444, www.seaport.org.
Bird walks with Luke Tiller, mostly Saturdays at 8 a.m., $10 each; to register, www. sunrisebirding. com/ walks.htm; 203-981-9924, luke.tiller @ gmail.com.
First Sundays, birding at Greenwich Point with Meredith Sampson of Wild Wings, and other guides, meet at the second concession stand, 203-637-9822.
Copyright (c) 2008 by Jack Sanders. Send sightings or comments to: jackfsanders [at sign] yahoo.com, or to Bird Notes, Box 1019, Ridgefield, CT 06877; or call 203-438-1183, extension BIRD (2473), and leave a message with your report, spelling your first and last names and telling us your town. If you need help identifying a bird, try your local nature center. If you find an injured bird, call wildlife rehabilitator Darlene Wimbrow of Redding, 203-438-0618, Wildlife in Crisis of Weston, 203-544-9913, or Wild Wings of Greenwich, 203-637-9822. The columnist’s website is www. sandersbooks. com.
|< Prev||Next >|