New tools for bird buffs

  • Red-shared flickers

    Drawing by Radeaux from "Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas"
  • Bird drawing by Radeaux from "Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas"

  Spring in Colorado has brought with it the clatter of bird calls and a few new tools for finding the feathered beasties. In January, the Colorado Bird Atlas Partnership released the Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas, a 636-page book packed with profiles and pictures of birds, and maps showing where in the state they can be found. The book, 10 years in the making, pulls together information collected by 30 ornithologists. It covers birds ranging from the American pipit, a songbird that breeds on mountaintop tundra, to the canyon wren, which nests in desert cliffs. The book also includes color photographs of bird habitat around the state, and lists of common birds you'll find there. A copy is $34.95, plus $5 shipping, from the Colorado Wildlife Heritage Foundation, Colorado Bird Atlas, P.O. Box 211512, Denver, CO 80221-0394.

If you are a high-tech birder, you can watch video clips of birds and listen to their songs on a new set of CD-ROMs called Better Birdwatching in Colorado. Available for Mac and PC computers, the CDs include color photos of 386 different birds. The maps and descriptions are less detailed than those in the atlas, but you can watch an osprey dive into a lake after a fish, and listen to the cackle of a lesser prairie chicken. Fort Collins software designer Joseph LaFleur says he designed the CDs for beginning birders and kids. Included are birding quizzes that test how stout a birder you are. Identify a bird by its song, or its site, and a parrot rings a victory bell. "There are so many computer games where you just go around blowing things up," he says. "I wanted to make something you could actually learn from." The 2-CD set is $59.95 on the Web at; call 888/414-2837, or write Better Birdwatching CD-ROMs, 6161'2 W. Olive St., Fort Collins, CO 80521.

*Greg Hanscom

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