- Series: National Audubon Society Interactive Cd-rom
- Unknown Binding
- Publisher: Knopf; Bk&Cd Rom (Not Compatible with WINDOWS 98) edition (June 18, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679760164
- ISBN-13: 978-0679760160
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.9 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,476,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The National Audubon Society Interactive CD-ROM Guide to North American Birds (National Audubon Society Interactive CD-ROM Series) Bk&Cd Rom (Not Compatible with WINDOWS 98) Edition
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Requirements for running this excellent reference include Windows 3. 1 or 95 or a Macintosh, a color monitor, and other relatively modern hardware configurations likely to be included in newer Mac or PC environments: those with such systems who hold an affinity for birds will find this one of the finest multimedia references available. This goes beyond any printed word form, including over 700 bird call examples, videos, photos, maps, and trip planners. The computer environment lends to using life zones and locations to aid in the identification process, while on-line indexing and a glossary of terms are only a keystroke away. This promises hours of interactive birding in a setting far more educational and interactive than a printed bird guidebook could ever offer. Highly recommended. -- Midwest Book Review
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I didn't get very far before my mouse disappeared, but I didn't see obvious ways to create audio or visual tests for yourself, which is what I was really hoping for. On the positive side, the sound cues are really long and detailed.
So far after a week of using the CD I'd say it's an adequate product. Nothing spectacular, but it works for what I'm trying to do, which is to identify birds after I've taken pictures of them (see [...] I don't need a field guide to take into the field.
The database related features are easier to use than cross references in a paper book, as I hoped.
The heart of this multimedia gold mine is the individual species profiles. Excellent photographs labeled with common and scientific names are the base for further exploration of each species. Click a button to hear the bird's call; with over 700 sound files, this feature ALONE is worth the price of the program. Click another to see a range map that includes permanent, breeding and winter ranges along with a listing of habitats. Click a text icon to read all about the bird; a "Field Guide" link gives the basics, a "Master Guide" link goes in-depth. Family information is available as well. Some species have links to additional images such as females and immature specimens. If you've seen the bird, a click will add it to your life list; multiple life lists can be created to accommodate all users.
Information on a specific species can be rapidly located. A browse mode lets you view thumbnails of all 723 species included, which can be clicked to access the bird's profile. If you know the name of the species, you can search for it by the common or scientific name. Or, if your search is broader, you can search for a family by the term thrush, for example, or Muscicapidae.
If you've seen an unfamiliar bird in the wild, and want to identify it, a user-friendly Identification graphical interface is provided which allows searching by any and/or all of the following criteria: life zone (wetlands, desert, Eastern forest), location (Arizona, Michigan), season ( fall/spring, winter) color (up to three), shape (hawk-like, swallow-like) and size (10"-20" or same size as American Crow).
An Ecology section permits exploration by Life Zones, such as desert, grasslands and Western forests. A click on Wetlands, for example, leads to links on habitats including bogs, marshes and Southern swamps. These in turn provide lists of species found in each habitat, which can be clicked to view the bird's profile.
Short videos with voice-overs are provided on the topics of migration, reproduction, evolution, anatomy and flight. A trip planner describes 20 top birding spots around the US. Not up on your ornithological lingo? No problem: a comprehensive glossary will help you add terms from accipitter to zygodactyl to your vocabulary. The "Skill Builder" component tests what you've learned with visual and audio quizzes on species identification. Tips for new birders and an extensive bibliography round out this comprehensive multimedia treasure.
Some reviews have mentioned technical concerns. I have none. I thoroughly tested this on both the Mac 8.5 and Windows 98 platforms, and found performance perfectly acceptable on both. It is true, however, that sky backgrounds on some of the images appear pixilated, like an over-compressed .jpg file, even with the monitor set to 24 bit color, but even in those occasional photos ALL image quality of the birds themselves is excellent. To make an issue of this, however, would be like complaining that you don't like the floor mats in a Rolls Royce.
In summary, this is an excellent, information-packed, user-friendly product that can provide a lifetime of learning and enjoyment. Now if I could just get my seven year old son to give me a chance to use it.......
I found this program fantastic. As for the content,being able to hear 700 bird call examples at the touch of a button is in itself an absolute pleasure. Pictures of birds can be zoomed in, so great detail is possible. Special features like testing your knowledge and keeping a life list are wonderful. My 3 1/2 year old grandson was absolutely entralled for 3 hours straight. He also remembered a lot of what he heard and saw. I highly recommend this program.