Observation made easy
In Great Britain and the Netherlands it is already a national sport, in the USA and Switzerland it is enjoying growing popularity, and here too bird watching is one of the leisure activities with strong growth rates: in the bookshops the most diverse guides are piling up, music publishers are advertising bird song concerts on CD, and conservation groups are calling for the "Hour of the Garden Birds" to count the birdies around your home or in the park.
But how to get in - for example if you are interested in the birds around your own bird feeder? Which book is most likely to help you over the beginner hurdles? Or should it be the extensive DVD collection that presents all 450 bird species in Europe in words, pictures and sound? The selection is large and for the layman almost as difficult as identifying the individual birds themselves.
In the meantime, however, many publishers have fortunately recognized that this is a growth market and are upgrading accordingly. With "The World of Birds in Gardens and Parks" by Susanne Hofmann, the music publisher Edition AMPLE has now presented a work for beginners that leaves nothing to be desired. More than sixty, mostly common, feathered friends from the immediate vicinity of humans are briefly presented here with film and audio material. The goal: to make it easier for the beginning ornithologist to start his new hobby with species that are relatively easy to identify.
Among other things, the numerous titmice are presented, which cavort at the dumplings provided on the balcony in winter, all kinds of corvids, which are conspicuous due to their size and little melodious voice, various finches, thrushes, woodpeckers or pigeons. There are also flycatchers and warblers, individual birds of prey, sparrows and swallows. Of the species that can often be observed in cities, only the buzzard and waterfowl are missing, although there are countless coots, mallards and of course the swans in German parks. On the other hand, even more experienced observers can look forward to rare guests such as wrynecks, orioles or waxwings, which even advanced observers do not see every day.
Navigation within the DVD is very easy; the individual types can be controlled individually or also be looked through in a quick run with the required brevity. However, there is no way to hide the – expert – commentary from the speaker and just listen to the bird calls. With this option you would be missing out on a we alth of information that is available despite the relatively short individual chapters.
This is how the speaker Christina Loibl presents the calls and songs of the birds equally onomatopoeic, which makes it much easier to remember and recognize. The characteristic plumage features of the individual species are also specially mentioned and partially highlighted in the still image. Image and sound comparisons clarify differences between closely related or similar-sounding species – for example between different tits or sparrows. The DVD progresses chronologically from the few overwintering bird species (tits, finches, corvids, woodpeckers, pigeons) to the summer guests (many thrushes, warblers, warblers, swallows): This also allows you to limit what is happening outside through snow, puddles of rain and earthy beds or later whistles from the blossoming cherry tree.
Overall, the material used is of high quality, apart from a few slightly overexposed shots. For beginners, "The World of Birds in Gardens and Parks" is also highly recommended because of its rather low price - and of course also for any other bird lover who would like to get a distinctive bird concert in the living room.