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Sunday, April 23, 2006


(Click on photo for larger version)

(birdPod and the Radio shack #40-1441 speaker)

Note, update: As of January '07 birdPod has changed its name to birdJam, read our review, click HERE.

If you want to learn birds songs, such as the song of this Yellow Warbler, in a whole new super-fast way, get birdPod(birdJam). What is birdPod? birdPod (birdJam) is an ipod (Apple's digital music player) loaded with Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs CDs, (which contain the songs and calls of almost all North American Birds), plus the birdPod (birdJam) software.

Of course, you can also load the Stokes Field Guide To Bird Songs CDs onto an ipod and listen to them without getting the birdpod (birdJam) software. The Stokes songs would appear the way they are on the Stokes Field Guide To Bird Songs CDs, where they are essentially organized by phylogenetic order such as, Seabirds, Heronlike Birds, etc. You would just scroll to the name of the bird you wanted and listen to its songs and calls. This works well when you know the name of the bird you want to listen to.

What the birdpod (birdJam) software does is use the bird songs on the Stokes CDs and organizes them into playlists that group birds by things such as habitat or family, for example, "urban birds" or "forest birds." This is useful for both the learning of birds songs and the identification of birds in the field, especially if you don't know what bird is making the sound. If you were in an urban habitat, you could go to the playlist of "urban birds" and listen to the sounds until you came to the sound you were trying to identify. The birdPod (birdJam) software removes the spoken bird name announcement at the beginning of each track (which you don't need, since the written name of the bird appears in the ipod window) and it splits double tracks into single tracks for fast access.

The birdPod (birdJam) company says, "birdpod combines the best bird sound collection available, Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs, Eastern and Western Regions, with our birdPod software to create the ultimate bird song less than 15 seconds, you can find and listen to any of 650 species of North American Birds".

To access bird songs on the ipod, you just push the center white button then run your thumb or finger around the gray dial to quickly scroll up or down the bird lists. It just takes seconds to do this and is much faster than loading and unloading CDs in and out of a CD player and finding the right track. The ipod player is about the size of a deck of cards, shown above. You can listen through little ear phones or attach an external speaker, shown here, to broadcast the songs. You can even buy a device that lets you play your ipod through your car radio.

The blog, 10,000 Birds, had a review, calling it "Beautiful BirdPod.... birdPod is most assuredly both convenient and portable......The genius of the birdPod is not the iPod itself; that's Apple's masterwork of design. Nor have the manufacturers of the birdPod put together their own coast to coast compilation of bird calls. For that they turned to the highly regarded Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs, Eastern and Western Region. ......the birdPod looks to be a very useful tool for any birder attempting to expand his or her repetoire of North American bird calls."

Birdpod (birdJam) can be purchased from the birdPod website store as 3 options:
1. The ipod already loaded with the birdPod (birdJam) software plus the Stokes Field Guide To Bird Songs CDs.
2. The birdpod (birdJam) software and the Stokes Field Guide To Bird Songs CDs, (because you already own an ipod).
3. The birdPod (birdJam) software alone, (because you already own an ipod and the Stokes Field Guide To Bird Songs CDs).

You can also buy the Stokes Field Guide To Bird Songs CDs by themselves from and many other online retailers, and stores.

While writing this, we have been listening to our ipod play all the warbler songs — a great cheer up on a rainy New Hampshire day, and good practice for the coming warbler season. So get ready to increase your birding skills, learn bird songs on your iPod.

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