Birdlife Melbourne Balwyn Meeting Report
28 July 2015
There are three Pizzey and Knight digital editions and we were honoured to welcome Guy Gibbon, the producer of these on-line tools, to demonstrate the numerous features of each. Guy’s company, Gibbon Multimedia, has previously produced the RSPB Birds of Britain and Ireland Digital Edition, and Robert’s Multimedia Birds of South Africa. I was the perfect audience as I have not purchased yet, and it was an ideal introduction. If you also have not bought the Pizzey and Knight Birds of Australia digital edition and want more detail, I found that Guy has set up a superb on-line tour.
The three apps are tailored to the equipment you wish to use it on. One is for Windows PC, one for iPhone and iPad, and one for android phones. Unfortunately you cannot buy one and hope to use it on your PC and iPhone. They are uniquely programmed for the product you choose to use. However the features on each are virtually the same.
The Windows PC program opens with a menu page:
Guy said that the Introduction is much like the book introduction.
The Field Guide shows pages from the book edition, showing family groupings. One can scroll through the bird list down the left margin, select a species to display the text and distribution map of that bird, and listen to their call. Photographs are also given.
The Bird Guide pages –example below – give all the available details of each species, including pictures, calls, maps and photographs. The maps are colour coded to show resident status, breeding and migration. A status bar indicates the breeding cycle. One can focus on rare bird species; a map showing individual sightings.
Similar Birds will display similar species side by side, with maps, photographs, text and calls also available.
It strikes me that Identification works like a key guide. The identification of an unknown bird narrows as you progress through selections of map location, habitat, body shape and plumage. The program then selects and displays a shortlist of possible species. One can eliminate the improbable ones, and switch to Bird Guide for the fine detail.
In My Location you can generate a bird list for your birding spot, selected on an interactive map. Besides a spot location one can select a road/walk journey. You can also overlay distribution maps to see if you are likely to see a certain bird, but it does not incorporate rare species.
With My Lists one can generate your personal sighting records. One can record a large amount of information about the site (e.g. name, date, GPS co-ordinates and altitude) and about the species (e.g. gender, age, seen, heard, etc.). One can make different lists for the same site.
The Birding Sites module can display on a map 250 top birding spots in Australia, each with their bird list. The map is fully interactive, so it will show locations for a target species including rarities; and one can generate and edit your own birding sites, add photos and notes.
Habitat gives detailed descriptions on Australian habitats, an interactive map, typical birds and one can generate a bird list. You can enjoy a slide show of a habitat as well as watch a parade of associated birds.
There is much, much more to this software. The two smart phone apps are very similar in content, as I said before, and I can recommend having a look at information available on line. I for one am going to get this off to the blog and then buy my copy.
All illustrations were kindly supplied by Guy Gibbon.
Contributor: Daphne Hards