Without a doubt, one of the best birding apps available on the market is the Birdlasser App. Henk Nel and his team have built a world class app that has in many ways changed the landscape of Southern African birding. I have got to know Henk Nel personally over the last few years, and when you speak to him about this app, his passion starts to show. Henk and the team are committed to developing an app that offers all the best features that rival and even surpass other similar apps on the market.
While there are many purists out there that still want to keep technology out of birding and want to keep their phones off while out in the field, I do believe that when one looks at what Birdlasser offers that user, even the most ardent purist might be tempted to pull their phone out on the field and start logging on the app.
Let’s take a quick look 6 reasons why every birder should be Birdlasser:
1) Birdlasser is easy to use
You don’t need to be technologically savvy to use the app, once you understand a few basics such as creating a profile, trip cards, and how to log and edit birds you have seen, you pretty much are set to use Birdlasser. It works on both IOS and Android devices and it is simple to download. When you are out in the field, it doesn’t need data to record birds, and is able to operate in airplane mode (in fact putting your phone into Airplane mode might be trickier than actually using the app).
2) It allows you to painlessly keep a life list
I know that some people like to record their birds seen on a spreadsheet or in a physical journal, but for people like me that don’t want to go through all that effort, Birdlasser allows me to keep my life list with no blood, sweat and tears.
The wide array of lists that you can keep will satisfy even the most demanding lister – you can keep an overall life list, provincial life lists, year lists, and even by creating cards make lists for different locations. What is best is that these lists are created simply by logging the birds you see in the field!
You are also able to send these lists to other people and share the birds you have seen. For those that keep spreadsheets, you are able to transfer the records when you get home onto your computer. I have started to make some manual lists from places I have visited, but having the birds listed on Birdlasser has made this process easier.
3) You can participate in challenges
The Birdlasser challenges make birding even more fun and allow you to ‘compete’ against other birders in and around the country, province, or even local area (there are even international challenges available). There is a wide range of challenges that you can take part in – such as the South African Birding Big Year (which is limited to South Africa), the Southern Africa Big Year (which encompasses the whole of the Southern African region, 150 and 100 km challenges in different areas (for example the Cape Town 150k Challenge), and even challenges that are limited to a smaller area (for example the Sapphire Coast Challenge). So, no matter where you stay, there is a challenge that you can take part in.
What makes these challenges so exciting is the sense of community that is built. When you record a bird, others can see that you have recorded the bird, and sometimes in the case of special birds, you may find yourself getting an inbox asking for details about where you saw it (and making sure it wasn’t a finger fault). The challenges mean that every bird finds value on your list – a Laughing Dove finds as much values as a Narina Trogan, as both contribute to your list for the year.
4) You make a valuable contribution to conservation
Birdlasser is so much more than simply a bird listing app, by using it, you can contribute to conservation simply by recording the birds that you see and hear. You can register as an atlasser with Southern African Bird Atlas Project 2 or SABAP2 as it’s more commonly known as (http://sabap2.birdmap.africa/). Birding is great, but atlassing is even better! Atlassing is defined on the SABAP2 website as recording ‘the presence of as many bird species as possible within a defined area’ (the area is known as a pentad). What makes atlassing great is that I simply go out and bird, record all the birds that I see and hear, and because I have taken the time to record them – my pastime has contributed to conservation. Atlassing used to be a confusing activity, done with cumbersome maps and data, but the Birdlasser app has made it easy and accessible for almost any birder with a decent knowledge of birds to be able to contribute to this important project.
Birdlasser also allows you to link to various causes. A cause is a conservation or research project that data collected from Birdlasser would benefit. You simply click on the causes tab on your app and give permission for them to get data from your observations. Some of the causes that Birdlasser users can contribute data to are projects such as Southern Ground Hornbill, KNP Yellow-Billed Oxpecker Project, and the Cape Parrot Project. This adds another level of excitement for me as a birder, because every time I see one of these species and record it, in some small way I am contributing to saving these threatened species.
5) Its’ free! – With all the features that Birdlasser offers the user you would expect that it would cost something to purchase it in the app store. What is great is that this app costs nothing – and all the features that I have spoken about in this article also don’t cost anything to access! All these world-class features at no cost (with no sneaky fees that come up later). On top off all of this, the Birdlasser team offer great customer service. I have apps that I pay for that cannot match the customer service that comes with Birdlasser.
6) It’s a Proudly South African App
The last reason we encourage you to support this app is that it has been developed in South Africa. We can have many complaints about our country, but these kinds of world class apps give us a reason to celebrate the good that is coming from South Africa. When it comes to Birdlasser – local is definitely lekker!
We don’t really see any reason for a birder in Southern Africa to not be using Birdlasser. Download the app today and start to contribute to conservation as you go our birding.
If you are a Birdlasser user, in the comments let us know why you think that birders should be using this app.
Links to download Birdlasser:
Please note that our partnership with Birdlasser is not a paid partnership, we are passionate about showcasing this app to the birding community. We do encourage you to consider donating to Birdlasser to help keep this world class app going from strength to strength.
Account Name: Lejint (Pty) Ltd
Institution: First National Bank
Branch Client Resolution Centre: 260231
Account Number: 62470972657
Reference: Your BirdLasser email address
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