Review By Barb Beck University of Alberta
I have just had the pleasure of reviewing a copy of John Neville's latest CD set, Bird Songs - Western Boreal Forest. It is a fantastic set. Almost all of the recordings were made by John as he travelled across Canada's Boreal Forest. Most of the recordings are from Saskatchewan and Alberta. The dialects you hear are of the birds from that region. In the narration he often gives a little extra insight into the species or into the recording. He has not limited himself just to birds. There are a few mammals, including Deer, an interesting recording of a Black Bear, and amphibians which are part of the Boreal soundscape. Some are very interesting. I never realized how much a Green Winged Teal could sound like a jet plane but he has managed to capture a recording of it. He has an excellent recording of the song of the rarely recorded Hawk Owl.
John's recordings sound very natural. On some bird song CD's some of the recordings appear to be of highly agitated birds which have been enticed to vocalize by tape playback. The birds on John Neville's CD set sound like they do when you are just enjoying their song in their natural surroundings. John has stated that his own philosophy "is to present bird sounds in a way that anyone can recognize them. If more people recognize the critters then more space will be saved and protected for birds. I think knowledge of wildlife is critical for the natural world in an environment dominated by man." Each species is on a separate track in the CD which makes access easy. The set is arranged with the more common birds you would encounter in the first group followed by the following groups of birds and other animals: warblers, sparrows, raptors, shorebirds, waterfowl, marshes, mammals and rodents, and finally gulls. There are 55tracks on the first CD and 52 on the second.
My husband and I record natural sounds and realize the tremendous amount of patience and work it takes to get each of the clips on this CD set and to get clips of the high quality that appears on these recordings. Each is like a painting of this very special region, a work of art. If you love the boreal forest you will love this CD set and the insights it brings into the sounds of this marvellous region of the world. If you love birds you will enjoy these very fine recordings.
It can be ordered from John's Neville Recording web site: www.nevillerecording.com
Usual disclaimer I have no commercial interest in this produce - just love good bird song recordings