The welcome page sets the stage for the color and sound celebration promised in the subtitle. The authors' stated purpose of the ebook is to bring "pleasure and happiness into your life." And I'm glad to report that they succeeded.
Each of the 20 bird species included in this eBook has four pages devoted to it. The first page for each bird is a gorgeous image accompanied by a fairly lengthy sound recording of a medley of the bird's songs and calls. The second page has a brief description, four additional (and enlargeable) images to view, a range map that leads to natural history tidbits, and a brief audio message from either Lang or Marie. The third page has a close-up video clip showing the bird calling and singing. Finally the fourth page has 3-5 more song and call clips that are accompanied by a brief description or interpretation of that sound.
What I Like
The still images, video footage, and sound recordings were fabulous, even on my old iPad1. Then, just days before I was ready to finalize this review, I bought a new iPad with a Retina display. It was like the sleep had been wiped from my eyes! Every image and video that I thought looked pretty amazing before looked FABULOUS, the colors, the crisp edges, the movement, all just gorgeous!
I found that while listening to the sound recordings and viewing the videos, I had time to really study and enjoy the images. I was taking in fine details of the bird that might have been missed in a more cursory glance.
The audio recording of either Lang or Marie giving their own personal experiences with the bird was a very nice, personal touch. Now I not only know more about the bird, I feel I know more about the authors.
I enjoyed the videos showing birds in the act of singing, seeing them throw their heads back in full-throated song or seeing the feathers on their throat vibrate as they sang. I especially enjoyed the video of the turkeys and the Red-winged Blackbirds, and witnessing the drumming Ruffed Grouse.
It is helpful to provide a description and/or interpretation of each song or call clip as provided on each page 4. There's more to learning songs and calls than just sheer recognition; knowing the context of the song or call aids in recall and understanding.
I can also report from experience that it is fairly easy to transfer this ebook to a new device.
A couple little tweeks
I wish all 20 species had a female of the species pictured on page 2 (e.g., a female Indigo Bunting was not shown). I believe there is an error in the White-throated Sparrow Natural History Tidbits making reference to White-crowned Sparrows in the fourth sentence. And it probably isn't necessary to refer to "Mormon" blackbirds to get the idea of polygynous across to the reader.
On my iPad 1, on a couple instances, the range map didn't pop up when clicked, but this did not occur on my newer version device.
My guess is that this book would show pretty well on a Kindle Fire and other tablets as well, but it is unfortunately available only through iTunes.
Imagine watching a White-throated Sparrow sing through an old, scratched and battered pair of binoculars. While seeing it is always a pleasure, the view is less than great.
Now imagine viewing him through a new pair of binoculars with all the latest high-tech lens coatings. Suddenly, he has colors that are more intense than you've ever seen them. The entire scene is brighter, the edges crisper, and you see details you've not noticed before, perhaps the beauty of his yellow lores or the ratchett-like movement of his lower jaw when he sings.
Now imagine this intensified image and sound up close. No, even closer.... as close as your lap.
THAT is what you'll experience with the Music of the Birds ebook: the clearest, closest, and most detailed looks and sounds you'll get of these 20 birds short of holding them in your hand.
Sure, you can look at a book and listen to a CD or view a DVD simultaneously, but this eBook is so much less labor-intensive and the images more vibrant than what can be reproduced on a printed page or viewed on a screen halfway across the room. It truly is what the authors promise: a multi-media event.
And your ticket to this event is one you can use time and again, to see, hear, and enjoy at your leisure. I know that I'll revisit these pages, especially come spring when I need my annual refresher course in bird song, and probably throughout the summer when I hear one of these birds and wonder "what did that call mean?"
While I still love the feel of a real book in my hand, the eBook format opens the door to multi-media pieces such as Music of the Birds: stunning still images, the movement of videos, and the beauty of song, all easily accessible and navigable on a single device. I'm looking forward to Volume 2!
Music of the Birds Volume 1 is available for $7.99 on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/music-of-the-birds-v1/id529347014?mt=11
In accordance with Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR Part 255, it is disclosed that the copy of the ebook read in order to produce this review was provided gratis to the reviewer by the author.