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Citizen Science - Time to Play Your Part | Jonathan Breytenbach

Birding means different things to different people. Throughout the world birding is done in many different ways. Some people prefer to just sit down and enjoy the joyful fluttering of the array of birds visiting their bird feeder, with the satisfaction of seeing those winged jewels enjoying the seed that they had provided with so much love, filling their hearts with a sense of purpose and joy. Other people prefer to drive thousands of miles to get to see a certain bird, to tick another species off their lists. Some others then focus on getting as many species as possible for a certain area, in a certain space of time. Throughout these groups of people, you get those that focus more on the scientific aspect of birding, be that through atlassing, documenting nests and nesting habits or feeding behaviour, documenting using photography or sketches and collecting and measuring specimens. Although all these groups of people have ways of birding that differ a whole lot from each other, they also all have one thing in common. THEY LOVE BIRDS!!!

Experimenting with camera settings with the drops of rain falling around this Cape Longclaw

The love for birds is what connects us as birders, regardless of your style of birding. There is no incorrect way of birding, as long as you are not harming the birds or the habitat they occupy. It is YOUR journey, and you decide your style.

My passion for nature is in fact a lifelong companion, working and making his way into every part of my life since I can remember. I believe that such a passion for nature and conservation is an incredibly special gift from God, a seed that needs to be nurtured and watered so that it may continue to grow into something truly magnificent. Not everyone finds that seed at such a young age, and I am forever grateful that I did. Though even finding it at a much later time in your life might prove to be exceptionally rewarding. As a young boy already, I was as awestruck and inspired by nature as I am today. I remember picking up rocks, looking under bark and in leaf litter, trying to find critters of all sorts, regardless of the location, and paying little attention to the people around. I recall a time where I crawled through the legs of about 10 people standing in a queue at one of the pay points of our local SuperSpar, desperately trying to catch a beetle that eventually made me crawl right underneath the cashier’s chair.

We encountered this Striped Pipit on the rocky ledges of the reserve’s waterfall

That very passion for nature grew with me, developing into a deeper interest in a wide variety of fauna and flora. One of those deeper, more mature, and even intensified interests turned out to be in birds and birding. My actual birding journey started in 2017, and since then grew into some crazy, uncontrollable obsession, addiction or whatever you might call it. Throughout my birding journey, I have come to appreciate the more scientific aspect of observing and protecting nature. Not necessarily scientific alone, but an overall deeper interest into the conservation of birds and their habitats, and the different ways in which I can contribute.

It is this love for the conservation and the longing to play my part, that drove me to explore