By a customer
, 23 Jun 2008
The major problem with this DVD is that your expectations and your appetite will have been conditioned by years of watching BBC wildlife programmes. As the DVD loads you expect Bill Oddie or someone to take you on a guided tour. You anticipate a narrative, with abundant information, beautiful camerawork, anecdotes, a touch of humour, a sense of the excitement the presenter feels. Instead, you get a reference guide ... and, while this does throw you for a moment or two, that's precisely what this DVD sets out to provide.
There are several excellent books on the market which offer a handy reference guide to British birds and wildlife. Their problem is that they can only offer you a couple of still photographs or drawings of each bird. This "Comprehensive Guide to British Birds" is so much more effective. Divided into three groups - birds of the town, the country, or the coast - twenty four birds are featured in each category. You get a detailed study of each one, with several minutes to observe it in flight, nesting, feeding, etc., getting to know it from every angle; the commentary describes its habits, habitat, changes in its plumage, easy hints to recognise it and distinguish it from similar birds. You learn how to tell a rook from a jackdaw or carrion crow, how to recognise a female siskin, and so on.
The DVD is menu driven - look up the bird you want to study, click on the button, and hey presto! Alternatively, you can play your way through all seventy-two to familiarise yourself with the most common British birds.
It's a very useful starter kit for the novice, and, if you want to impress your kids, this will give you a lot of credibility - in fact, let them watch it, they'll learn quickly. It is a starter kit, but no less useful for that. You'll want to go on to learn more and identify some of the lesser known species, but it does encourage you to open your eyes and look at birds. Bird watching is a wonderful means of relaxation and it is de-stressing. This DVD encourages some good bird watching habits, and you'll likely benefit from these.
It can be a bit clunky in places, and you do miss the BBC's continuity. But the photography is clear and uncluttered, the presentation straightforward and self-explanatory. Overall, it's well-organised, informative, and it will stimulate both your interest and your knowledge.
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