Frequently Asked Questions

Videos   Instructions

How to use your BirdVoice PEN

To switch on your BirdVoice PEN simply hold down the Power button for a few seconds until the light turns blue. (You will hear a bleep.) Now it is ready to use.

Next touch the Song, Call or Advice area on your BirdVoice Inlay or Field Guide and you will hear either Jean Roché’s clear recordings of the birds or Geoff Sample’s expert advice on the language of birds.

If you wish to use one of the other components in the BirdVoice Pack simply touch the Start Arrow on that product. When going from one product to another all you have to do is touch the Start Arrow of that component.

On the front of the PEN you will see a button with an ‘M’ on it; this is the MODE button which lets you switch between hearing pre-recorded content and making your own recordings. When you hold the Mode button down for a couple of seconds the light on the PEN will turn red – now the PEN is in Record Mode.

To make a recording, first choose where you are going to save your recording. For example, you might want to record onto one of the sound spots on page 15 of British Birds Diary. Hold down the Record Button (showing the small microphone) and then touch the spot. When the light turns purple you can let go of the record button and make your recording.  To finish press the record button again to stop recording. To listen to your recording just touch the spot you recorded onto with the PEN. (This is with the PEN still in the red record mode). You can also make notes and sketches next to that sound spot as a way of building up your own library of observations and sounds.

If you want to go back to hearing the pre-recorded information just hold down the Mode button until the light turns blue.

There are some videos showing the various products and how they work, and below you will find some FAQs. If you want any further help please either call 0845 600 1361 0845 600 1361 or email


  • How long should you charge the BirdVoice PEN before the first use?  A/C Adapter time?  Computer charge time?
The BirdVoice PEN is supplied with rechargeable AAA batteries. These are pre charged. Recharge for a minimum of 1 hour using the usb cable supplied. This should give you about 4 to 6 hours of usage depending on the volume setting and frequency of hitting sound spots.
  •  How long should you charge the BirdVoice PEN  subsequently after the first charge? A/C Adapter time?  Computer charge time?
You do not have to let the pen charge out to nil voltage. You can always recharge since the pen will charge up to 1.42v maximum.

  • How long will BirdVoice PEN  stay charged?
If you do not use the pen it will stay charged for up to 10 days, but we recommend giving it a booster charge for 45minutes before use.

  • How do I change the batteries?
First remove the silicone sleeve from the pen. Underneath you will find a turquoise battery cover. Remove this cover and inside you will see the battery compartment. Your pen will take either rechargeable or alkaline batteries. NB Never try and recharge alkaline batteries as this will damage your PENpal.

  • How can I increase the volume on the pen?
The power button doubles up as a volume control button. Press the power up button for 3 seconds and the pen will either switch on or off. Press the power on/off button quickly and the volume will increase to a minimum and then, on continued clicking, will decrease to a minimum.

  • When I touch a sound spot there is no response.
Check that the BirdVoice PEN is switched on. If yes, most probably it needs a boost charge. Charge for 1.5hours and try again. Or if you have ordinary batteries they may need replacing.
If, in the unlikely event the pen is still not working, please contact us on 0845 600 1361 0845 600 1361 .

  • What are the other buttons for?
You will not need to use the other buttons. But for your information, M stands for Mode as the pen doubles up as Voice Recording device and an MP3 Player. With voice recording (red light comes on) you can make your own audio notes and attach them to sound spots. The original recordings are not erased. The BirdVoice PEN comes with 4 GB of memory so you can hold a lot of mp3 files. You can switch between tracks by quickly clicking the Mode button. However if you press the Mode button down for about 3 seconds then the pen will switch between modes, Pre-recorded content, self-recorded content and MP3 content.

  • Can I pause a recording?
Yes, you can. Just by clicking the Mode button quickly the recording will pause. Click the button again to continue.

  • How can I attach the lanyard?
You will need a paper clip and the lanyard provided. Slip the string end through the lanyard opening near the speaker end of the BirdVoice PEN. With the paper clip hook the end of the loop and pull through the string! Knot the string through the detachable end to set up the lanyard. The whole process should take less than a minute. The lanyard is designed to detach easily should it be tugged too fiercely.
  • What does it mean when my BirdVoice PEN  says, “Touch the Start arrow…”?
Every publication has an arrow labelled “Start” printed on it, usually on the inside front cover or the front of the friezes. The Start Arrow tells the BirdVoice PEN which book or frieze it is reading. The Start arrow activates the appropriate audio file that is already loaded into the BirdVoice PEN. If you have not yet purchased and loaded the audio file for a publication, your BirdVoice PEN will remain silent when you touch the Start Arrow. 
  • What happens when I want a new book or poster to add to the list of BirdVoice PEN resources I already have?
When we receive your order, say for example, an English only book of The Elves and Shoemaker with French/English and Polish/English audio versions – we will post you the book and ask you to send your email address. We will send you the download links of the two audio versions. Just drag and drop the two files onto your hard disk and then drag them to your pen.

When BirdVoice PEN touches the Start arrow in the book, it will recognize that the book is Elves and the Shoemaker. When you touch the “language” button on the inside front cover, it will say the first language that you loaded…. French. 

If you wished to hear the story in Polish, then touch the Start Arrow again followed by the “language” button. BirdVoice PEN will announce Polish. You can have as many languages editions of Elves and the Shoemaker as you like on the BirdVoice PEN. 
  • Do I need to slide BirdVoice PEN  across the text?
No. BirdVoice PEN just has to touch the corners of the page to activate the audio. You do not need to press hard. Sometimes PENpal/BirdVoice PEN can even detect what to say without actually touching the page!  
  • My BirdVoice PEN  does not switch on. Why?
Please check that the batteries are inserted the right way round. Also, make sure that you press the “on” button down for about 2 seconds until the blue light comes on.
  • How do I switch my BirdVoice PEN off?
Press the Switch button again for two seconds until the blue light turns off. Very rarely, this action does not work. This is equivalent to your computer crashing. In this case you will need to take out one of the batteries, wait for five seconds, and insert it again - then all should be well.
  • How do I know when the batteries are running low?
BirdVoice PEN will give audio message when batteries are running low. You will be able to hear the noise deterioration and the fact that BirdVoice PEN takes longer to speak! 
  • Are you planning any future developments for BirdVoice PEN ?
Yes, as you know in electronics everything moves forward as we extend the boundary of technological abilities. Our R&D operations are developing new ideas all the time so please keep watching this space.
  • I couldn't find the answer to my question, what should I do?
Please raise your question with our support team. See our contact us page for various contact options.