The world’s first Arabic language App on the birds of the region has been launched by the Ornithological Society of the Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia, OSME, a conservation charity.
Free to download for iOS and Android devices, it is based on the book ‘Birds of the Middle East’, by Richard Porter and former UAE resident birdwatcher Simon Aspinall. It was translated into Arabic by Abdul Rahman Al Sirhan and features pictures, descriptions of behaviour and the range of the species included, with the addition of samples of bird song.
"For the first time ever," Al Sirhan says, "Arabic speakers will be able to access information about the birds of our region through their smartphone. It’s a complete field guide in your pocket, giving you easy access to information about the many beautiful birds we have in the UAE and the rest of the Middle East.’’
Promoting the region as a nature destination and supporting education is a key aim for OSME according to Chairman, Dr. Robert Sheldon, ‘’We want this app to be a tool that inspires a new generation of birdwatchers. Birdwatching has always been associated with the older generations, and we need to encourage a new generation of bird enthusiasts that can carry on with conservation in the Middle East region. The App will hopefully encourage young people to learn more about the abundant birds on their doorstep.’’
In an announcement to accompany the launch of the App, OSME profiles what it calls ‘8 amazing birds in the Middle East.’ Of these, most can be found in the United Arab Emirates, including the greater flamingo, the crab plover, the collared kingfisher, the hypercolius, the Socotra cormorant, the hoopoe and the recently-discovered Omani owl.
The creation of the App was made possible through donations received from the charity’s members, individual donors and HSBC Bank Middle East. The bank’s Regional Head of Sustainability (MENAT), Sabrin Rahman commented, "HSBC are pleased to have supported the development of this important tool for all to understand and appreciate the diversity of birdlife in this region. We have been proud supporters of biodiversity and conservation and we strongly believe that the first step to achieve this is through education."