birdJam: A Revolution in Bird Song Identification

I have been reading reviews and listening to the buzz about birdJam and decided it was time to order. I had purchased an iPod video with the intentions of loading all my bird sounds onto it so I could study while at work. (Even marketing can get a bit boring at times). The problem was this: the bird tracks all had narrations and to find the one I wanted took several minutes at a time or I had to create playlists on my own, another time-consuming task.

Enter birdJam. This sophisticated software enabled me to quickly and easily create a birdPod out of my iPod.

Features:

  • Removes bird name narration at the beginning of each bird song track.
  • Splits double tracks into single tracks so each bird has its own track for fast and easy access.
  • Ensures bird names are consistent and follow the naming format used by most birding field guides’ indexes.
  • Adds bird family information, scientific names and bird song descriptions.
  • Includes more than 75 playlists of bird songs organized by habitat and logical bird groups.

Tech specs / requirements:

  • Software runs on Windows XP or Mac OS X
  • Can be downloaded (no extra charge) or shipped in the box ($10.00 extra)
  • Requires .Net environment on Windows XP (which I had to download [free] as I did not have it)
  • Takes very little hard drive space
  • Requires Stokes CDs – East, West or Both to be loaded into your iTunes library

**Note – I had modified some of my Stokes CD tracks so had to re-install the CD library – birdJam requires all the tracks to be installed so it can properly edit them and add playlists**

The installation was super simple allthough I am rather computer savvy so I might not be the best judge. But the software tells you step-by-step what to do. In less than 20 minutes or so, the narration’s gone, the tracks are split, the playlists are added and your bird songs are ready to be listened to.

Drawback – cost. At $99.00 I was a little hesitant at first to purchase. But the features really are worth it. By removing the narration and splitting the tracks I can quiz myself on bird sounds without the spoilers. Each bird can be found easier since no two birds are sharing tracks anymore (a really annoying thing about the CDs).

The playlists are well done and useful – I have been listening to the warblers at work but can easily switch to sparrows, wetlands, or others. The song descriptions and photos (of some of the birds) help to aid the learning process.

The only other minor flaw I’ve discovered is that a few of the tracks weren’t split 100% accurately. The bird sound is still all there, but you get a little chunk of voice that is hardly noticeable. This could be partially caused by the importation of the tracks into iTunes, but it really isn’t a problem.

We give the birdJam 10 out of 10 feathers.

10 thoughts on “birdJam: A Revolution in Bird Song Identification

  1. Thanks for the detailed review. I had read about this in Birder’s World but their review was much less informative than yours.

  2. I have been seeing this blogged on a few sites and seriously thinking about getting this for the fall season! Thanks for your review, it was very helpful!

  3. Mon@rch – you’re welcome… the product is really great and easy to use

    Mike – Thanks… I was trying to fill the gap of professional reviews with thoughts from an actual user.

  4. Sorry, me again! Was just checking out their website and the cost is really what is hitting me!! I am not an Ipod person and not really sure how all that works (since I have stokes already)! So, we are paying for the program for them to split up files and remove the voices?? Isn’t that why we purchase stokes to learn their songs? Or does this give pictures of all the birds also??

  5. The cost was what kept me from buying it for awhile too. Basically, it is made for iPod users because the sounds can be taken out in the field. You bring your iPod along and hear a song that sounds like a warbler you’re not sure of, you click through to the warblers and check them out.

    The removal of voices helps in learning because you aren’t given the name of the bird out loud, you can look on the iPod screen to find it out. Another plus are the playlists you get with the software. The birds are organized into habitat types, families, etc. There are also SOME pictures but not that many (something that I think was a little misleading on their site).

    Theoretically, the sounds could be used with portable speakers to “call in birds” but there are obvious ethical questions involved with that. But I suppose if you are leading a bird group, you could play a sound to help them learn it.

    If you don’t already own an iPod and don’t plan on getting one, I wouldn’t bother with the software. The main advantages (for me) are not having the bird names “spoiled” so I can guess them; the playlists (as state above) are nice, and with the tracks split, it does make it easier to find birds that were stuck together.

    If you have any other questions (not that I am an expert and I don’t work for them or anything) you can email me: birdfreak at birdfreak dot com

  6. Thanks, although I have had planned on getting an IPOD, I just don’t think that I can get the same products cheeper (except the BirdJam program)! I guess that can be an after thought if I want to get the songs split up and remove the voices! I was hoping for the pictures to go along with the birds! Maybe if I hold out that this will be something that they will offer in the future!

  7. I love my birdPod. The sound is excellent, the pictures are clear and fit beautifully on the screen of my iPod touch. The picture, sound, and a detailed description of the bird call all come up for each track. I was not an iPod user before, and I sprang the $$ for my iPod to come preloaded with birdJam. The only thing I wish it included: pics of both male and female of the species…now it only shows male. However, call of both male and female are included, and the description that pops up with the sounds clearly describes which one you are listening to, along with some descriptions about the circumstances under which they were recorded. I usually keep my RTP in my pocket anyway. I use it to teach diversity units in high school, and attached to a iMainGo speaker, I can take it outside to call in a bird (not something I would ever do outside of teaching circumstances, but it has been very meaninful illustration to students in helping to demonstrate how animals claim and defend territory). I personally found the expense worth it for me, although I can see how some people would not appreciate the cost.

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