The birds and the city

Heiko, our German development guru found a passion for the birds in Sydney and he wasn’t alone. Here is the story of Wingtags told in his own words:

“Ever since my fiancée and I arrived in Sydney two years ago, there was something we particularly liked about this city. It’s probably because we both grew up in Germany, not a place exactly famous for abundance of wildlife, but we were always delighted to see these large, noisy, sulphur-crested cockatoos flying low across our heads, chasing tourists in parks and stirring up the CBD area with their distinctive raucous calls. Having had the chance to live close to the botanic garden for almost our entire stay, we started to study and eventually grow fond of these remarkable birds that turned out to be surprisingly intelligent.


Earlier this year we started to collaborate with the University of Sydney & the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust to monitor their movements, breeding and habitat preferences with the aim to better live alongside urban wildlife. Even the SMH talked about it already here. Being both experienced mobile app developers, we couldn’t ignore the crowdsourcing potential and started to design a little iPhone app that comes with a simplified interface to report sightings of tagged birds. The App is called Wingtags and you can download it from the link here and below. Just spot the number on the wingtag, enter it into the app and feel free to attach a photo of your encounter if you get close enough for a nice shot.


Download the app from the App Store


We hope this project gets one or two Sydneysiders a little more curious about the feathery inhabitants of this extraordinary city. Once the database starts filling up, we’ll also be able to visualize the movements of birds right within the app. Spot a bird in Potts Point in the evening just to find out that it had breakfast in Manly – that may pretty much coincide with your own commute.


Special thanks goes out to Robbie Tapping (Amnesiafish in Melbourne) for building the API for the database and to Amnesia Razorfish for sponsoring hosting and bandwidth. The birds do very much appreciate it.”

Let the bird catching and cataloguing begin.


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