BLNG’s activities are designed to cater for a range of birding interests, preferences and skill levels. Our regular activities include day outings, weekend camps, and longer trips to find those sought-after birds, and a monthly evening meeting at which members can hear about upcoming events, listen to interesting talks by guest speakers, and catch up over tea and coffee. A one-day course on bird identification or other relevant skills is organised at least once a year.

 BLNG also has a large and active bird ringing group, promotes the participation of its members in other citizen science efforts such as atlassing/SABAP2, supports conservation projects, and shares members’ experiences and knowledge in our newsletter/magazine, Laniarius. Members can buy a range of books, as well as birding and club-related items, from our trading table at evening meetings and other events.


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Day outings take place at least twice a month on Saturdays or Sundays and once a month on Wednesdays. A variety of local birding spots in and around Pretoria are visited, which are generally accessible to ordinary sedan vehicles. Entry fees may be charged for certain venues. Outings involve birding on foot and sometimes also from vehicles (while staying in contact using 2-way radios), and are generally followed by a picnic brunch or lunch while the birds seen are discussed and a list collated.

 There are usually 10 weekend or long-weekend camps a year, and one longer trip to a special birding destination. Accommodation can range from catered to self-catering and from lodges or cottages to camping. Travel distances vary: some camps are within an hour’s drive of Pretoria, and most are within 3 to 4 hours’ drive, but some are further afield and longer, special-event camps may also visit neighbouring countries.

  Outings and camps are led by expert birders, who are usually club members, and occasionally by professional bird guides, especially when targeting ‘specials’ for a particular area. At times arrangements are made to visit localities which are not accessible to the general public.

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BirdLife Northern Gauteng has a large and active ringing group consisting of around 30 A ringers (qualified) and about 10 C ringers (trainees).  The BLNG ringing calendar includes regular ringing venues around Pretoria as well as camps further afield.

 A club ring is held once a month, in which BLNG members have the opportunity to visit the ringers as part of a club outing. This offers the chance to get close-up views of a range of bird species, and is especially popular with children.

 Bird ringing/banding is the process whereby registered ringers permanently mark wild birds to study their lifecycles (births, deaths, age of breeding and survival rates), habits, populations and movements. Metal rings (marked with unique numbers) are attached to the bird for future identification. Ringing is only permitted by qualified and registered ringers or under their supervision.  Bird ringing in Southern African is managed by the Southern Africa Ringing Unit (SAFRING).

  SAFRING maintains a database of recoveries of Southern African birds that can be used to establish information about movement and survival. Every bird ringed has the potential to contribute to the SAFRING recovery database. Since 1982, this database has been supplemented by a re-trap database, supplied by ringers on a voluntary basis. The database is a resource which may be used by researchers, conservation biologists and conservation managers.

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Atlassing (systematically recording and submitting sightings to create a map of species distribution and abundance) is a way that birders and birding can contribute to scientific research that benefits the conservation of birds and their habitats.

The first Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP) took place from 1987–1991 and involved data (a grand total of 147 605 checklists and 7.3 million records of bird distribution) contributed mainly by birders.

The second bird atlas, SABAP2, began on 1 July 2007 and is still ongoing. Whereas being a SABAP (1) atlasser involved a painstaking process of reading maps, manually recording species lists, and submitting hard copy ‘field cards’, playing a part in SABAP2 is as simple as logging one’s sightings on BirdLasser, and submitting these via the App as either ‘ad hoc’ or ‘full protocol’ cards.  For further information please see the links below.  There are also several other research projects (causes) one can participate in via BirdLasser: e.g. Heronry MAP Africa, Southern Ground-Hornbill, Yellow-billed Oxpecker.

BLNG encourages its members to be active citizen scientists by using BirdLasser to submit their sightings data to SABAP2, and participating in outings (atlas bashes) aimed at providing data for pentads with low or no coverage. Courses and camps are held to help develop members’ ID and atlassing skills.

Each year a BLNG atlas challenge for a chosen target region is hosted on BirdLasser where our atlassers can track their sightings for the year in friendly competition with other members.

The BLNG Challenge

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BirdLife Northern Gauteng is affiliated to BirdLife South Africa (BLSA) which is the leading bird conservation organisation in South Africa. As a club, we actively support the conservation initiatives undertaken by BLSA whenever and wherever possible. We encourage our members to become direct members of BLSA, as well as to consider becoming BLSA Conservation League donors.

Over the years we have undertaken our own conservation projects with funding from our reserves and membership income.

We are involved in supporting the following conservation projects:

  • Citizen science projects – we encourage our members to register as observers for the Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP2) and to submit their sightings as ad hoc or full protocol atlas cards.
  • BirdLasser – we contribute financially towards the data storage costs of BirdLasser which is the preferred bird atlassing mobile application in South Africa.
  • Bird ringing – BLNG has a very active ringing group which operates under the regulations of the South African Bird Ringing Unit (SAFRING).
  • Support of WESSA Friends groups in our area – we assist these Friends groups by offering to lead bird outings in their conservation areas as well as supporting their activities such as clean-ups and bird monitoring.
  • Support of other organisations and individuals who are running conservation projects in our area.
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Members can buy a range of books, as well as birding and club-related items from our trading table at evening meetings and other events. Some items can also be ordered if not available.  Please contact Riana at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 Book list


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