Pizzey and Knight - Android Problem

To: "Dave Torr" <>, "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Pizzey and Knight - Android Problem
From: "Jenny Stiles" <>
Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2014 12:48:23 +1000
Hi David & Peter,
I downloaded this App this morning, very happy that it is finally available for Android, BUT I seem to have a major problem. All I have is the photos, drawings and Maps; no text at all in the field guide or bird pages [other than captions] nor do I have sounds. I do have birding sites and identifications etc. Has anyone else have a problem like this? My phone is a Samsung Galaxy W Android 2.3.6 & according to the Google shop the App is compatible with my phone.
From Jenny Stiles

-----Original Message----- From: Dave Torr
Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 9:03 AM
To: birding-aus
Subject: Pizzey and Knight - Android

As Peter Shute reported, the app is now available and I was part of the
beta test program, so I thought people might be interested in my thoughts.

Firstly let me say that P&K has always been my favourite bird guide,
although with two main issues - it is too big and heavy for comfortable
field use and - at least in my edition which is quite old - does not show

I have been testing on a 7" tablet - again perhaps a little large for the
field (although a lot smaller and lighter than the book) but it of course
has a much easier to read screen and larger keyboard.

The app is a large (700MB+) download - in this it differs from some I have
seen which download a small app and then on first use have to download a
large data file. Whichever way it is done it is wise only to do it on WiFi!

The Settings have two confusing options called Sort and Language, which
between them allow you to choose taxonomy and how the bird names are
displayed. I must admit I have only tested the IOC list as that is what I
use, but it claims to do C&B, Clements and Birdlife as well. Settings also
allows you to choose whether to display the full Aus list or just a
state/territory list.

OK - now for the main screen, which has 6 icons.

Field Guide shows a list of birds in groups (e.g Black-cockatoo) and
selecting one takes the user to the plates for that group - and one can
then scroll along to the next plate. Disappointingly I could not find any
plate with underviews of raptors in flight, although there are small images
with each bird. Tapping a bird gives options to go the detailed page, play
sounds, show similar birds or record a sighting - all of which I will look
at later.

Bird Guide shows a full species list with search facilities. Selecting a
bird shows drawings of the bird, text, distribution maps and (usually)
photos. Again there are options to play calls (usually more than one, and
with the location where recorded and the subspecies noted), show similar
birds or record a sighting, as well as go back to the main plate for that
Distribution maps show subspecies and seasonal variations where relevant
and I personally think they are clearer than I have seen elsewhere.
Similar birds brings up a list of birds which the authors think could be
confused with the current species and you can display any two side by side.
There seems to be no way to actually ask for the display of a species which
the authors do not think is similar - although to be fair I have yet to
need such a feature as their guesses are pretty close to mine.
There are inevitably a few minor bugs here (and I guess they would be in
the Apple version?) - Rufous Fieldwren has the subspecies names a bit
confused and Wild Turkey is shown on the map as being on Kangaroo Island
but the text does not show this.  These issues I believe will be fixed in a
future update.

My Location shows an Aus map and allows you to either use GPS to set your
position or to tap the map to set a location. Once a location is selected
you can display a bird list for that location (although there is another
small bug that stops this happening in the NW of Australia, which should be
fixed soon) and can then use the list to record sightings - although they
seem to go in a generic "My List" rather than a list specific for this
site, which I feel would be preferable.. You can also show recommended
birding locations on the map.

My Lists is a simple list manager which I did not use much as I have my own
recording software. It allows you to set up multiple lists and accumulate
sightings into an overall list. You can input a lot of detail for
individual sightings, but disappointingly not any comments for the list as
a whole, such as weather, participants etc. There is an export facility
which produces CSV files - I have not tried to import these into any other
software yet.

Birding Sites produces a summary of good birding sites around Australia,
with links back to bird descriptions of birds that might be seen there and
to external websites. Would be better I think if you could show a map of
the locations from any given screen - yes you can do it from My Location
but I feel it would be nice if (say) the "Hobart and surrounds" page
actually showed a map of the places it described

Finally (and probably of great interest to beginners) is the Identification
section, which allows you to put in location, habitat, shape and plumage
details (or any combination) and then tries to show what bird it might be.
Seemed to have a pretty good success rate on the few I tried, but then it
got confusing. For example - I input data which identified a bird as one of
Superb Fairywren, Southern Emuwren, Chestnut-rumped Heathwren and Striated
Fieldwren. I was then expecting to be able to compare these birds, but when
I clicked on the icon against their names it added the bird as a sighting!
When I clicked on the name of Striated Fieldwren it took me to the bird
page, but the list of "similar birds" for that was different to the list I
was working through. So whilst it seems to be quite good at suggesting
birds it is possibly a little hard to then finally identify what you have

In summary I think it is an excellent replacement for my trusty P&K book -
especially with the ssp ranges, photos and of course calls. I personally
will not use the listing feature which I think could be improved. The
identify feature seems on a brief test to give quite useful guide for a
beginner but again I think improvements could be made.
As to pricing and value I cannot say - yes it is expensive compared to many
apps (most of the apps I use are free or less than $5) but it has to be
remembered that this has a limited audience and contains a huge amount of
information - licensing all of the photos and calls I guess would not have
been cheap! It is certainly going to be a very useful bit of software for
I would be interested to know if owners of the Apple version have similar
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