Review of "Birds of Ecuador / Aves de Ecuador"
... That there are 1,184 species represented perhaps tells you enough about the value of this
archive, but I wish particularly to stress that many rare or poorly known species are included on the
disc, and that the authors have managed to visit most every topographic feature of the Ecuadorian Andes,
so that the geographic coverage for many species is outstanding. Niels Krabbe is, of course, one of the
world's authorities on tapaculos (Rhinocryptidae), and they are especially well represented (e.g. 111
recordings of Blackish Tapaculo [Scytalopus latrans] from every part of Andean Ecuador), while the
18 recordings of the taxonomically interesting Masked-Highland Trogon (Trogon personatus-temperatus)
complex are a further example of how this is a scientifically valuable archive as well as a simple tool
for learning basic bird calls.
As a matter of personal taste, I appreciate what I might term the "honest presentation" of this
archive, which particularly means openness, disclosure, and naturalness (and does not imply "dishonesty"
in other products!). If there was uncertainty about the identity of the bird, this is shown, and recordings
that were made in response to playback are so labeled. Recordings have generally not been scrubbed to
remove the background noise of roosters, other birds, and some of the meters of falling rain (and when
a recording was enhanced, that is indicated); nor have intervals been shortened without notice.
Also, I prefer this products's lack of voice annotations to introduce cuts, but of course many prefer
otherwise. There are mistakes (so far about a dozen found by the authors and listeners), helpfully
listed on an errata page of the publisher's web site
(link), which also includes a patch program that will correct these errors
and make a few tiny changes to the basic program.
I highly recommend this DVD to anyone interested in the vocalizations of South American birds,
especially in the tropical Andes. It can well serve an individual who simply wishes to learn the
typical vocalizations of more than 1,100 species, and it is essential for individuals and institutions
with strong interests in the songs of South American birds, especially the taxonomic implications of
geographic variation in vocalizations. It, and other collections published by Bird Songs International,
should also inspire other recordists to consider the ways in which technological advances make it
possible to provide personal archives to a broad public.
-- Richard E. Webster in Auk 123(1): 293-294, January 2006.
"... This DVD uses modern technology to great advantage by placing the vocalizations of
the vast majority of Ecuadorian birds on your computer and at your fingertips. The DVD is
organized taxonomically by family. Clicking on a family brings up a species list with icons
that indicate whether a photograph or sound track is available for a given species. Clicking
on the species brings up a small image of the photograph (if available) and lists the sound
recordings available. For some species, there is information on taxonomy or recent splits.
Many recordings may be available for each species, and if appropriate, they are separated
by subspecies. Information under the sound bar for each selection includes a rating of the
quality of the recording, the type of vocalization (song, call, duet, etc.) and whether the
vocalization was recorded under natural conditions or after playback. Yet another click on the
twistee under the sound bar brings up complete information on the recording, including the
recordist, location, date, time of day, archive or reference information, and often the
identification of other species heard in the recording. The location where it was recorded is
a clickable link that takes you to two maps showing Ecuador and South America, with the
recording location indicated by a dot on the maps.
I had no trouble using the "Playlist" feature to create playlists for various
geographical regions of Ecuador. Creating a playlist involves dragging and dropping recordings
to the list. Playing the list requires one click. As the list is played, the speciesí twistee
opens, showing all recordings on the list for that species, and, as each recording is played,
the information on that cut is displayed. Once a playlist is created, the program will build
a folder of the selections that may be copied to other media for use in whatever software
the owner has on their computer. Again, this is straightforward, and creating the folder to
use for burning a CD is easy.
This product includes 69 hours of vocalizations of the birds of Ecuador. It will be
extremely useful to field biologists and birders who want to learn the vocalizations of these
species. This DVD is highly recommended." -- Mary Gustafson in Wilson
Bulletin 117(1): 110-111, March 2005.
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