Are you a curious naturalist? Have you always wanted to record everything and anything you see or hear? In today’s tech-based world, mobile developers have created smartphone applications which can help to be a nature and wildlife enthusiast much easier. No longer does one need to look through guidebooks every time meticulously flipping the pages for flora and fauna sited. With these applications, even when you are simply going about your daily routine, you can be able to note down your nature records. Be it a bird or a tree. A butterfly that has perched on a leaf or a snake slithering away. Not only will you be a nature explorer but also become a citizen scientist.
Birdlasser is one of the best citizen-science, bird mapping apps in Kenya. Not only do you get to record birds sited or heard, but you also get to be a part of the Kenya Bird Map project. The application is specifically built in with species of birds found in Kenya, neighbouring Tanzania and the rest of Africa. The Kenya Bird Map project aims to map the current distribution of all of Kenya’s bird species and describe their status. The project also offers a lot of excellent birding, exploring new and fascinating parts of the country, state-of-the-art technology and communication and serious science to produce dependable results that can be used to take real action for conservation. Personally, you can get to see your life list through this application and identify what you need to see.
The Application is incredible with a user-friendly search engine. Instead of going with the usual alphabetical search methodology or writing an entire species name, you can start with the name and a series will appear depending on the name entered where you can choose.
I stumbled on iNaturalist a few years back. The uniqueness of the application is the ability to share photographs and have others identify and even have a discussion on the flora or fauna uploaded. As a global citizen science platform, this acts as a ‘Google’ for nature and wildlife. The best part is you can keep track of all your records. The application is also a learning platform since you can be able to learn from others especially how to identify species using their unique characteristics.
eBird is the largest biological citizen-science program in the world. eBird is an amazing app which can help you find more birds and keep track of your sightings. Annually, The Cornell Lab through the eBird hosts the Global Big Day which is a 24-hour activity which involves collecting individual species of birds globally in a checklist for 24 hours depending on the various time zones of countries.
eBird will help you explore birds and hotspots near you and wherever you go, all based on the latest sightings from around the world. You can also share your sightings with others and help advance science and conservation in avifauna. Through your track record, you will be able to identify which bird you would like to see next and where you will need to go to find it.
The mobile application is based on the classic Jonathan Kingdon’s Pocket Guide to African Mammals which is considered an essential field guide to African mammals. Unfortunately, it is only available as a paid version on iOS mobile devices. However, it’s the best learning tool for Africa’s major land mammals as well as general information about smaller mammal groups. Instead of carrying the bulky book, this offers an essential field guide right on the palm of your hands.
The application is based on the Birds of East Africa covering Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. It is an essential Pocket Guide book for Birds on your palms. Although the application is a paid version, is has the added advantages of playbacks of bird sounds. It is an amazing app to learn about bird sounds and help identify them while in the field. However, it is highly advised not to be lazy and use the playback every time. This is because, this results in birds thinking there is a threat, a mate or further disrupt a bird’s normal routine.