12. 05. 2005
Takara Breezy Singers: A Celebration of Avian Influenza
I walked into a cramped store and heard birds singing this weekend. I thought maybe the owner had set up a small aviary near the t-shirts. (On a recent visit to a park in Kowloon, despite a governmental crack-down on public displays of bird affection due to avian flu concerns, I spied a clutch of Cantonese men discreetly gathered to show off their pet singers.) I walked toward the sound with that memory fresh in my mind thinking I'd find a bamboo cage filled with feathered friends. Instead I found a shelf of animated plastic birds.
The sounds that these birds emit are uncanny. The design is close to realistic although it's not helped by the plastic and its tempered color. The chirps and songs were provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and they're triggered by movement detected by a motion-activated photo sensor that can be turned off. Meaning you can choose to spare or torture your cube mates.
The Takara USA site has audio samples for the North American collection which includes the American Robin, Northern Cardinal, Eastern Bluebird, Blue Jay, American Goldfinch, Scarlet Tanager and Common Yellowthroat. You can buy Breezy Singers by state, or there's Rocket World ($9.95), Amazon ($14.99) or Stewart Toys ($9.99). It's one way to commemorate the 2005 Bird Flu pandemic.