on August 4, 2007
I was able to try the software at a friend's house a few years ago and enjoyed the Petey the Parrot feature that pronounced Latin nomenclature. User friendly. There are good searching and cross-referencing features. The library of species is more extensive than any book I've seen. I like that there is geographic distribution data, population information and song files. It is so much easier to listen to a song file than read "two wee" in a field guide and get the same effect of information. This software helps with research presentations. The quizzes are great too. I like that the photos available for each species carry mulitple view whenever possible. I think in the absence of photos, drawings could have been included to cover the gap, especially since females are usually the gap and comprise 50% of the species population, so this is important information. So far that is the only short-coming I have noticed.
on May 16, 2008
As the previous review noted, the software is user-friendly. She also makes a good point about possibly using diagrams where there are gaps in the photos. Although I am generally happy with the photos available, there are some species that could use more/better photos.
I have Version 3.5. I really appreciate having the Birder's Handbook available on the CR-Rom; I've used it on multiple occasions. My main qualm with the software is that the audio selection is limited. It plays only the song for songbirds (not calls) and the recordings are fairly short. I still highly recomend this product, but would also recommend purchasing one or both of the Stokes CDs to get a more complete audio recording of the various songs and calls for each species. On the upside, I love the quizz options and have been creating my own quizzes to improve my identification skills!
The software is updateable through the internet. Also, if you are trying to decide between this one and the Birds of My Region CD-Rom, I highly recommend investing the extra money and getting this one (unless you never plan on leaving your region) since it is applicable across the continent and includes the Birder's Handbook. Really, it's not that much more money.
on July 18, 2008
I am fairly happy with this program. I had a Peterson's program that I had used for years, but it was not compatible with XP or Vista. There were some things available in that program that are not in this one - like an easy to use life list, but the Peterson program is no longer available. Overall the program is easy to use and the bird id's are concise with pictures and vocalizations.
on June 16, 2008
I like the operation and use of the software for identifying and exploring birds. However I had problems with the installation.
The provided installer does not allow use from Windows User accounts unless each User is given Administrator privilege. While most Windows customers never bother to change their accounts from Administrator to Limited, this is very bad security practice.
I left the entire "Program Files/Thayer Birding Software" directory tree read/execute only for Users, but had to set "/Database", "/Settings", and "/Temp" to User Full Control. All individual User files should have been in that User's My Documents.
Systems Programmer for 35 years.
p.s. Basic computer security rule: "Do not do anything under Administrator except work that absolutely requires that permission, and then be very careful".
on July 27, 2008
My wife is an amateur birder. She previously used the Audubon software on a Windows PC for identifying birds and documenting her sightings. This program is better organized and, she thinks, more full featured. It was easy to install on our XP operating system and operates smoothly (I don't know about the Vista environment)and she says that it is fun to use with lots of interesting information.