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 atl