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This review is from: DVD Guide to British Birds (DVD)
The main purpose of this DVD set is for learning how to identify British birds. It is a tool for birdwatchers, not a nature documentary. It covers all the British natives and most common introductions. Each species is shown for a minute or so, longer if it is harder to identify. The narration explains the key recognition points, with freeze frame if necessary to highlight key features. Most birds are shown both on the ground and in flight. If there is a similar species the differences are highlighted, often showing the two species side by side.
All the key variations are described, including different sub-species, summer and winter plumage, and juvenile and adult birds. Calls and songs are sometimes included, especially if they are important to identification, but not always and not all the variants - this is primarily a visual guide.
The live action makes it far easier to learn the birds than simply studying a picture in a book. The quality of the photography is very good, possibly almost too good since the shots tend to be close ups and there are fewer shots of birds on the ground at a distance. The narration is comprehensive although the style can get a bit monotonous after a while - but this is not a nature documentary and it does the job it is designed for. It would be tough going to watch more than a couple of dozen species at a time though, and to watch the entire thing would take stamina. You can also watch with the narration turned off - the names of the birds are still shown on the screen, including a caption if there is another species mixed in with the one being shown.
The navigation is simple, with clearly organised menus and sub-menus, and a printed sheet giving a summary of what is on each disc so it is easy to find any particular bird. There is only a fairly short logo etc. before the menus appear so it is fairly fast if you want to just quickly check one bird.
If you want something pretty and entertaining to watch and listen to, this isn't for you. If you want to brush up your identification skills this is the perfect tool for the job.