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Innovative interpretation in 'A Bird in the Hand'


The comical call of the Tasmanian native hen and the evocative cry of the black currawong are some of the bird calls featured in a new Apple iPod/iPhone Application (app) officially launched today by the Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS).

PWS General Manager, Peter Mooney said the PWS has combined with some of Tasmania's best photographers, sound recordists and computer software developer Geometry Pty Ltd, to produce an app titled 'A Bird in the Hand'.

"The application features quality photographs and detailed information about 23 of Tasmania's common and endemic birds," Mr Mooney said.

"A Bird in the Hand is like a field guide for birds however this field guide gives you the bird's call, something that new electronic applications have now made possible.

"Its simplicity, combined with the portability of iPods/iPhones will encourage people to connect with Tasmania's bird life, whether they are in their backyard or on a walk in their favourite park.

"We know that information is an important resource in the conservation of our native species and this unique and innovative method of delivering detailed information is only the start.

"We have plans for similar projects about Tasmania's unique mammals, frogs and walking tracks."

Birds currently featured in the app include endangered species such as the forty-spotted pardalote and the orange-bellied parrot and common birds such as the Tasmanian native hen, dusky robin, eastern rosella and flame robin.

In addition to beautiful colour photographs from some of Tasmania's best wildlife photographers, the app includes a detailed description of the species and information about its habitat and breeding.

The trend towards developing low cost apps for the iPhone/iPod has progressed at a furious pace.

As of 9 September 75,000 applications have been made available world-wide and over 1.8 billion apps have been downloaded in the 18 months since Apple launched the platform.

Mr Mooney said, because the app is available worldwide, the numbers downloading it are larger than we expected.

"Since it was made available last month there have been over 2500 downloads and it's been a steady 75 per day since then," Mr Mooney said.

"The biggest percentage of downloads have been from France.

"Over the coming months we plan to introduce updates to include more birds and maps of where the birds occur in Tasmania."

The app is available using Apple's free iTunes software via the iTunes App store.

It is only compatible with Apple iPhones and iPod touch devices at this stage.

The app is free to download until the 25th of September and after this it will cost $1.19.