The iFlyer Birdsong Scanning Wand is a fun birding tool that can greatly enhance your field guide and your bird song learning abilities.
With 206 bird species and 10 kinds of frogs included, the iFlyer Birdsong Scanning Wand is a great way to learn sounds. The wand itself is like an oversized pen with a build in scanner for the point. You use the wand to scan bar codes and the wand itself has a speaker for sound playback.
Included with the iFlyer is a full-color booklet with all the birds (and frogs) pictured with their accompanying bar code. The birds are organized by habitat and in some cases, by family. There is a section for yard birds, birds of the night, and a “bird caller” section as well. This last one includes some alarm and owl calls that are commonly used to attract birds (similar to pishing).
Many of the wood warblers are included and are organized by similar sounds to help ease what is often a difficult family of birds to learn.
The wand is easy to use and bar codes can be scanned left to right or right to left. However, you do have to practice a bit with the angle (recommended 45 degrees) to get a scan. But within seconds of having the batteries installed I was scanning bar codes with ease.
Perhaps the coolest feature of the iFlyer is the included bar code stickers. These stickers (separate from the included booklet) can be placed in your favorite field guide so when you are out on a birding trip simply bring the scanner and you can play the sound like it is straight out of your guide.
Note that not all field guides have adequate room for these stickers. We placed ours in the Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America but some names were partially covered up. The stickers do have the species name on them, so you don’t have to worry about losing information, just ascetic appeal.
The iFlyer Birdsong Scanning Wand is excellent for bird hikes and handy for those without smart phones or PDAs. The wand itself seems durable and comes in a carrying case that has room for the booklet as well. There are expandable chips in the works for more bird sounds and the creator, Terry Allen, is looking to best organize a new booklet of bird sounds for birders.
We recommend adding a whole section of sparrows and improving a few of the sounds that are a bit off. (White-throated Sparrow sounds distorted.) We will gladly forward any of your ideas to Terry if you leave them in the comments section below.