I got some fun stuff in the mail today! We got a personalized copy of Letters From Eden. Whoot! I had read the advanced copy and had even gotten a glimpse of it in Julie's studio last spring but now I have it in all its colorful glory.
Here is Cinnamon's favorite water color inside the book. I think my favorite is the turkey vulture story with all the little vulture etchings. The book is like a going through her journal and finding her art, thoughts on life and family all while educating you about the natural world--not just birds but also frogs, turtles, wildflowers. An excellent book that will be a popular gift this holiday season.
The other fun toy I got was the National Geographic Handheld Guide to Birds. I first saw a prototype at the ABA Convention in Tucson in 2005 and got to take a beta version with me to Arkansas on the ivory-bill search. It's now finally available to purchase and it is SO cool!
Essentially, it is a National Geographic Field Guide program for a palm pilot. If you already have a Palm Pilot you can get just the card with the program or you can get but a package of the Palm and the Card. I did not have a palm so I got the complete package. I've had a handheld device before, a Visor so I'm familiar with using one of these.
It has everything the field guide has from the illustrations, maps, distinguishing characteristics and foraging and mating behaviors. It has the most complete bird song library for North American species I have ever seen. Since it's a complete North American field guide, it's not divided between eastern and western regions. A surprise feature that is different than the previous version is that you can now synchronize it with eBird!
Another cool feature is that when you click on the species accounts, you will notice red highlighted words. These are words that a person may not have memorized. So, you click on the red word and bam:
You get the definition. That's pretty darn sweet and very handy educational tool. You can also create search lists with different criteria based on color, or region that you saw the bird. You can also create a species list based on what state you are in and the month you are visiting that state. This is not a cheap gadget, but when you factor in the fact that it is a complete North American field guide with audio for almost all species, bird terminology dictionary, every checklist available all crammed in a tiny device that slides easily in a pants pocket, it is very much worth the price.