Birdcall scanner is nothing to squawk about

It reads bar codes and plays corresponding songs on built-in speaker.

Wild Bird Place

We have a theory: At some point in the universe there's a convergence of birding and technology, along the lines of math and music. It's the only explanation we can come up with for so many avian gadgets that seem to come our way, which often indicate a particular demand for technologies that identify birdcalls.

Not all of them are the most practical, however, as underscored by the unwieldy size of such products as the "Sound Sleuth" weighing you down, fittingly, like an albatross around your neck. But the "iFlyer BirdSong Wand" seems like a perfectly reasonable alternative, in the form of a large ergonomic pen that reads bar codes listed alongside species pictured in its accompanying 54-page song booklet that lists 206 feathered friends. Once it's scanned a code, according to Book of Joe, the wand will play "a crisp, clear digital recording of the bird" through its built-in speaker.

And if there's a non-birder in the crowd, the wand will identify 10 frog calls as well. (Who knew that amphibians had such distinctive voices?)

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