Now for something completely different.
Australian radio network ABC has produced a series of podcasts about bird watching. The commentary is provided by comedian Steve Abbott (aka The Sandman) and is the first on 10 episodes.
To listen click here: Bird Brain episode 1
Here is the press release I received about the series:
STEVE ABBOTT’s BIRDBRAIN
A definitive list of other people’s bird sightings.
Steve Abbott, aka Sandman, returns to the ABC under the guise of Steve, a middle aged man, who feels lost and dishevelled in life. He comes to the conclusion he needs a hobby to occupy his less than satisfactory life.
Birdbrain, a 10 part podcast series exclusive to abc.net.au/local, will follow Steve as he takes on bird watching, after all he can already tell the difference between the Spotted and the Striated Pardalote.
Like many of us, there is a little bit of a bird watcher in Steve, but after researching a failed TV project several years ago he already has more knowledge than the average person, but less than real bird watchers.
Sadly, for a variety of reasons, Steve finds it hard to go the extra few yards and actually go bird watching very often, so he decides to create a bird list not only from his own sightings, but of other people’s.
Birdbrain is an excuse to talk to Birdwatchers about their lists and then cunningly relate their experiences to one man’s mid life crises, said Abbott.
Most people’s bird lists read more like a diary; where they saw a bird, what they were doing when they saw it; what characteristics this bird has; is it threatened or flourishing, and if so why.
The core of each podcast is Steve’s internal monologue or the diary of Steve’s life, punctuated by his recordings of bird sightings and other birdwatchers sightings. They all go together to form Steve’s list, which may cover every bird in Australia.
It’s a very simple idea that is partly a reflection on Steve’s life, partly about birds, partly about birdwatchers and it has a strong underlying environmental message – birds are a clear and quantifiable barometer for the health of our eco systems.
Other diversions include information on binoculars, footwear, where’s the best place to see particular birds and what to tell your partner when you can’t go to her sister’s birthday party because you have a once in a life time raptor field trip.
The first Birdbrain podcast will be available on Monday 16 February. To subscribe, downloaded or listen on demand go to at abc.net.au/local/podcasts.