Early in December, I found myself on a veranda overlooking the stunning Southern Drakensberg. The chilly weather was made a little bit warmer by the fantastic company and hot coffee. We mused over the complexities of life, a famous music festival, and, of course, the birding adventures we've had along the way. The gentleman, in his sixties, shared how Birdle had become a part of his and his partner's morning routine. They had even set targets to achieve with the daily challenges and were well on their way to reaching their goal.
Christmas Day and Beyond:
Fast forward a few weeks to Christmas Day. A few hours after indulging in too much lunch, we sat at the table having afternoon chats. Next to me sat a 13-year-old boy, due to start high school in the next year. As we mindlessly scrolled through Instagram videos, I remembered the Birdle daily challenge. I opened the challenge, showed him how it worked, and together we tackled the challenge. A month later, at a cricket match watching the Durban Super Giants play, the same 13-year-old boy sat next to me. During the game's excitement, he urged me to get my phone out so we could tackle that day's Birdle challenge. During the short dinner break at the cricket, I'm sad to admit he solved the challenge before me...
What Makes Birdle Special:
This is what makes Birdle so special. It's simple to play while being lots of fun. It appeals to different ages and demographics. You don't even need to be very knowledgeable about birds. But just a word of warning - once you play it once, it becomes addictive!
So, What is Birdle?
Andy Wassung, the Communications Manager at BirdLife South Africa, describes the game, developed by BirdLife South Africa and Raining Rock Studio, this way: "Inspired by the viral sensation, Wordle, Birdle was created as a fun way to encourage more people to learn about and take an interest in birds and bird conservation, no matter what their experience level may be. Each day, you are tasked with identifying a different bird species in five guesses or less, using a variety of clues, such as the size of the bird, what it eats, the habitats it is most commonly found in, plus an image of the bird (which reveals more after each guess) and its call. A new challenge goes live at midnight every day, allowing you to progressively improve your knowledge about birds, track your progress, and challenge your friends or family."
How to Play the Game:
Head on over to Birdle's website or, even better, download the free Birdle app for your phone.
Every day, you'll receive a new Birdle challenge. If you allow notifications from the app, you'll be reminded every morning about the latest challenge.
Upon opening the website or the app, a blurry black-and-white image of a bird, along with the bird's call, will be displayed at the top of the screen. You won't easily identify the bird in the photo, but you can make out a few features. If you're struggling to learn bird calls, the app is a great way to start getting familiar with our local calls.
Based on the blurry photo and the call, you now have five guesses, using different clues, to identify the bird. To get the species correct, you need to get all five clues correct - food type, bird size, foot function, habitat, and the name of the bird (options are given for the bird name). What I've loved about having to get all five clue blocks correct is that even though at times I've known the species after seeing the photo and hearing the call, I still need to know things like bird habitat, etc. This means that my knowledge of birds has grown through doing the Birdle challenges.
Once you guess the species correctly, the photo will be unblurred, and more information will be given about the species.
The app keeps statistics of how you've performed in Birdle over the time you've played, so you can see if you can achieve better stats than your friends and family.
Birdle is fun for the whole family. Download it and join the Birdle family!
We encourage people who download the app to become Birdle Pro subscribers. You can do this for under R100 a month. All proceeds from this go towards the important conservation work that BirdLife South Africa is doing.
Before leaving the website, be sure to check out the Accommodation Directory for venues catering specifically to birders. We also encourage you to visit our Online Shop for gear and books at competitive prices.
The Birding Life is not linked to BirdLife South Africa or any BirdLife South Africa Bird Clubs in any way. We are a completely separate entity. We are not a conservation organization, but look to support those who are doing conservation work – both through our voice and our resources. We are passionate about the work that BirdLife South Africa is doing and we will always encourage those who follow our platforms to support their very important work. You can either make a once off donation or take up a BirdLife South Africa membership. If you are in the financial position to do so, we would encourage you to even consider becoming a Conservation League Donor.