Tag Archives: Callfinder©

Mammal Guide of Southern Africa

Over the years many people and institutions have shown a keen interest in our website, particularly in the photos that we’ve included with our blogs.  We’ve had requests from all over the world for our pictures to be used in books, on posters, magazines and as logos for products.  One publishing house in Namibia uses our photos regularly in school text books to show learners the wonders of their beautiful country.  We’re always happy to allow folks to use our photos, but we don’t usually get to see where they have been published.  It was with great delight and appreciation therefore, that we received a copy of Burger Cillie’s latest book – Mammal Guide of Southern Africa – in which three of Rob’s photos featured (two of a Striped Polecat and one of a Black Mongoose).

Book cover

This is an excellent handbook to take into the bush, even if you think you already know all about the animals you are seeing.  It gives comprehensive information about markings, sex, behaviour, distribution, habitats, etc.  But what brings this book into the twenty-first century is that it makes use of advanced technology as many of the photos are able to be scanned by a Callfinder* to play the sound made by a particular animal.  What a valuable tool for identifying those mysterious sounds in the night!  At the moment only about fifty calls can be activated, but as new ones are added, updated versions can be obtained.

Black Mongoose

We have blogged previously about the brilliant Callfinder* and how well it works for identifying bird calls.  If you already own one you will be pleased to hear that you can download the sound track of the Mammal Guide of Southern Africa directly onto your device from the Briza Publication website at a fraction of the cost of a whole new Callfinder*.  We will definitely be doing this to get the full benefit out of our lovely new book.

Striped Polecat

We wish Burger well with his latest book and look forward to seeing many more of his books being published.

Callfinder© – A winner from SAPPI

What would life be like if we were unable to get out into nature to rejuvenate and restore our minds and spirits?  I can’t imagine actually.  For me, getting out into the garden or into the bush and watching the birds and wildlife is an integral part of my life.  So imagine my delight when my family (thanks Pete and Lauren) gave us a wonderful tool as a Christmas gift.  Not just any garden or household tool, but a nature tool!  An innovative tool that teaches you about the birds and their calls and actually helps you call them to you.  Let me tell you more …

African Paradise Flycatcher

SAPPI (originally South African Pulp and Paper Industries Ltd) is big in conservation in South Africa and they are a major contributor to education and knowledge in the field of birds.  Together with other sponsors they have collaborated with birding experts to bring out the amazing Sappi Birds of South Africa Callfinder©.

Sappi Birds of SA Callfinder

Not only did we get an informative bird book with beautiful photos, but it came with an electronic device that communicates with the photo of the bird and plays its call.  How neat is that!  This of course adds an entirely new dimension to birding and should be an absolute boon to beginners and experts alike.

A nifty device - Callfinder

We tried ours out in the Kruger National Park with mixed results.  We had seen an Indigobird on a tree in the distance and couldn’t make out the colour of its beak and legs, which obviously is key to identifying it.  We decided to play the Callfinder© to see if we could match the call it was making.  Rob pointed the device at the photo of the Village Indigobird and its call rang out.  Imagine our amazement when the bird flew right up to our vehicle.  We were able to identify it immediately.  We unfortunately thought that we’d be able to call all birds with the device, but the majority weren’t quite as obliging as the Indigobird.

Magpie Shrike

We have by no means tried every photo in the book, but on our trip we found quite a few birds that came closer on hearing a call, and they were :  Magpie Shrikes, the African Paradise Flycatcher, White-crested Helmet Shrikes and a Grey-headed Bush Shrike.  The Magpie Shrikes were most successful – we were trying to photograph one, played the call and about twelve flew up to our car.  So it looks like the Shrike family is the most curious of the lot.  The Grey-headed Parrots shrieked back at us on hearing the call and we were able to locate them in the tree above us.  Such fun!

Grey-headed Bush Shrike

I doubt whether it was the developers’ intention to call the birds to one, but it does happen and great care has to be taken not to distress the birds by playing their calls repeatedly. The calling of birds needs to be done judiciously at all times.  This is a wonderful tool for identifying their calls and committing them to memory for your field trips.

This fabulous book and Callfinder© will really help folks learn more and aid them in identifying all those birds that have previously been labelled as Unidentified Flying Objects!  And I certainly hope that my blog helps boost their sales – they really have brought out a winner in my humble opinion.  Well done Sappi!