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CD-ROM Review: 'Peterson Multimedia Guides: North American Birds'

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We gave it an A-

The first of a series, the Peterson Multimedia Guides: North American Birds CD-ROM includes almost a thousand common and rare species in the U.S., from herring gulls to diminutive hummingbirds. As in ornithologist Roger Tory Peterson’s print field guides, the birds are depicted in realistic, easy-to-read illustrations accompanied by helpful factoids. A tutorial by a grandfatherly Peterson explains his method of identification, while separate sections on behavior and habitat include splendid film clips: a sooty shearwater in effortless flight; Western grebes performing a balletic courtship. One can also enlarge sharp color photos of most of the birds and, in the disc’s greatest advantage over a book, hear their calls — making identification easier for novices and seasoned birders. Now, if only CD-ROMs were just a little more portable … A-