The Wild Bird Society of Japan plans to bring the fowl call of the wild into the classroom.

As part of a program to boost environment education beginning in 2002, the group will supply 2,000 gadgets capable of reproducing the calls of birds when used with a 38-page color booklet the group printed with the help of the Environment Agency.

The booklet, titled “Environment Education Beginning With Birds,” contains pictures, descriptions and recordings of the calls of 21 of the most common birds found around the archipelago.

Using ScanTalk, a hand-held bar code-reading machine, students can listen to the calls, cries and songs of ducks, herons and bush warblers by scanning bar codes listed beneath the descriptions of birds in the booklet. Each recording lasts about 6.5 seconds.

The booklet also contains tips on bird-watching and setting up a small-scale sanctuary.

The WBSJ is offering 2,000 of the booklets and machines to interested elementary schools. The machines, which retail for 8,000 yen and have been used in conjunction with English-teaching materials, will be supplied by Olympus Optical Co.

“Now kids can listen to the calls of birds without setting foot outside,” said Tsuyoshi Morishita of the WBSJ, adding that the group hopes the items will prove popular, in which case it will consider producing more materials.

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