Pheasant by Julian Bhalerao

Choose the sound guide that is right for you

If you are unsure which sound guide to buy for Britain and/or Europe, we can help you make the right choice.

Before considering which bird species you want to hear, decide which format is best for you - Compact Disc (CD) or MP3 CD/DVD? Click here for a more detailed discussion about the pros and cons of these formats.

Now ask yourself, "What sort of birds interest me?"

  A  Common or garden birds. Are you a beginner as far as bird sounds are concerned? Click here.
  B  Regular British Birds from a particular habitat or from most habitats. Click here.
  C  Regular British and European species (also including European species that are irregular visitors or vagrant to Britain). Click here.
  D  A particular bird family or group of birds, e.g. warblers, raptors etc. Click here.


Obviously this depends on what equipment you have.

CD is ideal for birdsong! The clarity is astounding and the instant access facility allows you to choose a sound from the track index and then repeat it as often as you like - ideal as an aid to learning bird songs and calls. Most people find it easier to learn one bird at a time, rather than many.

You can, of course, also play audio CDs through your computer's CD-ROM or DVD-ROM player or your DVD player.

MP3 CD - These discs are preloaded with audio files ready to upload to a digital music player, such as an iPod. Or you may be able to play it on a CD player capable of playing MP3 CDs. Some audio formats such as MP3 may contain other information such as text and images which capable MP3 players will display to you. Digital musical players, dependant on the make and model, have a wide variety of features that are designed to organise your sound collection and make it easy to use in the field. Please be aware that the MP3 format applies compression techniques to make the files small and more manageable but that this can distort the sound. Generally this is barely noticable to the human ear but some creatures such as birds have more sensitive hearing and may not recognise the compressed sound. For more information on this fairly technical subject we suggest you look on the Internet (Wikipedia), or give us a call on 01263 741100.

A: Common birds

We recommend Garden Bird Sounds which covers a respectable 70 birds. It is both indexed and announced.

B: Regular British birds

CD - Indexed and announced
Garden Bird Sounds covers a respectable 70 birds, British Bird Sounds covers the characteristic songs and calls of 175 species of the most frequently found British birds, Collins Field Guide Bird Songs and Calls of Britain and Northern Europe covers 152 species. If you don't want announcements please see C below.

iDentify British Birds. Song & calls of 250 species and on capable players, field guide illustrations and commentaries.

C: British and European species

CD - Indexed but not announced
Bird Songs and Calls of Britain and Europe on 4 CDs - Songs and calls of 403 species.

iDentify European Birds Song & calls of 516 species and on capable players, field guide illustrations and commentaries. Vogelstimmen Europas, Nordafrikas und Vorderasiens ("The Bird Songs of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East") is very comprehensive but rather overwhelming as it contains recordings of the songs of extreme vagrants to the Western Palearctic, many of which you are very unlikely to hear singing in Britain or Europe.

D: Bird families

Individual CDs from Bird Songs and Calls of Britain and Europe on 4 CDs should suffice. Alternatively see Sound Guides: Europe & Western Palearctic: Bird Families and Groups for titles like Birds of Prey and Owls of Western Europe and Sylvia Warblers, etc.

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