Frank and I are moving to Geneseo, NY (Rochester area) later this summer
so I started a subscription to the area birders listserver recently.
Thought this message from their listserve concerning a rather
inexpensive "spy ear" might interest those of you who have been
discussing the ability, or lack thereof, to hear bird song.

Lee Schiffel

Columbia, MO

Date: Sun, 13 Jun 2004 12:07:14 EDT

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Subject: [GeneseeBirds-L] Hearing Aids

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A few months ago I was visiting friends near Concord, MA. I was telling
them about my partial hearing loss and showed them (also birders) my
Brunton Nature Ear which I have had some satisfaction with. They pulled
out this thing that their young children have called "Spy Ear" that they
bought at a toy store for about $15, I think. We only tried it in their
yard briefly, but it seemed impressive compared to the $200+ Brunton
Nature Ear (manufactured for Brunton by Walker's "Game Ear"). They said
they would send one to me later. In the meantime, I had an opportunity
to briefly try the "Song-Finder" - VERY impressive, but $750 or $1,000
for the super duper model if you are interested in listening in on
butterflies mating and the like. Yesterday my "Spy Ear" arrived. 

I decided to test it against the Nature Ear this morning. The Spy Ear
only has an on/off switch, no volume control, BUT....I now know how much
bird song I have been missing! It is nowhere near as clear as
Song-Finder, and it's range isn't as great, but it seems to beat Nature
Ear hands down. Nature Ear has a volume control, but I can never set it
past "2" because of feedback even though it can go up to "3". It's
basically like a hearing aid, so the microphone and speaker are very
close together, hence the feedback.

The Spy Ear is a nifty has a very small parabolic dish
microphone that clips onto your shirt like a pen, and a wire that is
attached to an earbud speaker. A simple on/off switch is on the back of
the microphone unit. The casing for the microphone unit even has a
groove that the wire wraps around for storage and a perfectly located
clip to hold the earbud when not in use...For around $15!

Now the bad news: I just went to
<outbind://3/>  to confirm pricing - Micro Spy Listener
is not listed as a separate product, only as part of a group of other
really cool micro spy devices like a motion alarm, night spyer, voice
scrambler, and spybelt to hold it all...these could raise our birding
experiences to a whole new level! I've sent a query about the Spy Ear as
a separate product and will post my findings.

In the meantime, I would get to Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, K Mart,
what-have-you and grab one if you can't hear some of the birds like me.
What the heck? 

15 Bucks!

Bob Beal

Middlesex, NY

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