Bird Calls

Subject: Bird Calls
From: Jeremy Robertson <>
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001 14:44:00 +1030
This is my first posting and it seemed appropriate to comment on the problem of providing a digital version of the BOC bird calls. I agree with Stanley Jones that the tapes are very slow and cumbersome and a digital solution is required:

- having all the calls on your hard disk takes an enormous amount of disk space and for most is not practical. It is also not very portable.

- It is possible to play the calls on the Simpson & Day CD, but again it is not portable and some species have no recorded calls. Vicki Powys states it is not possible to use this CD on a Mac, but I use it on my Mac G3 by running it with VirtualPC.

- CDs are useful but you need to make your own from the BOC tapes which does take time, but has the advantage that you can produce CDs of exactly what you want and they can be put in the same order as Christidis & Boles and most field guides. David Stewart has produced some excellent CDs, but there are many species not included in his series.

- A disadvantage of CDs is that they can only store 99 tracks even though with short duration bird calls there is "room" for more species. So I agree with Vicki Powys that BOC should be rapidly producing CDs of the recordings, but owing to the 99 track limitation there will need to be a lot of CDs which are expensive and bulky.

- Consequently I think the answer is MiniDisc (MD) as they can record in mono and store up to 254 tracks. I own and have digitised (with my Mac G3 and Toast) all the BOC tapes onto CDs and put all the bird calls I want on three minidiscs. The first MD has 192 species, the second MD 136 species and the third 160 species - a total of 488 species on three disks that take barely as much space as a single cassette tape. My Sony MD player is lightweight and very compact and I simply dial up the species I want to listen to in a matter of seconds. Most MD portable players cost a bit more than CD players, but they are smaller and have better battery life. Like CD players MD players can endlessly replay a track or play tracks in random order if you want to test yourself (I have deleted the commentary). I would suggest that BOC considers releasing MD versions of their tapes in addition to the CDs as I am sure many would be converted once they see the possibilities.

Jeremy Robertson
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