BDI YouTube Channel: three months of growth!

The BDI launched its YouTube channel on 2 July. Three months later, the channel contained 61 videos and these videos had had more than 3,000 views.

Up to now the videos have had three themes: BDI Citizen Scientist Hours, BDI Virtual BioBases, and a “How to” series. We are planning to add more categories soon. The focus is very much on the Citizen Science Department of the BDI.

BDI Citizen Scientist Hours

In July, August and September we held nine Citizen Scientist Hours. These are Zoom events, and usually have three presenters each. We record the talks and upload them to the YouTube channel. We highlight here the top three Citizen Science Hour presentations.. The most-viewed of all of these is by Sidney Shema, who is coordinator of the bird atlas project in Kenya, KenyaBirdMap. Sidney’s presentation on The Avifauna of Kenya has had 182 views in just weeks: here it is:

Sidney gave a great overview of birds and birding in Kenya. He is also the presenter of the third most viewed presentation, with 146 views. This was about the project he leads, KenyaBirdMap, and you can view it here:

The video in second place was presented by Clara Cassell. She gave a fascinating presentation on the initiation of the bird atlas project in Liberia. She described the challenges being faced in getting the atlas started in this West African country. This is an project that really needs support:

Explore these and all the other Citizen Scientist Hour videos in the BDI YouTube Channel.

BDI Virtual BioBash

The next group of videos relates to the Virtual BioBashes. These generally are in support of the Virtual Museum. These also aim to be an hour long, but often go into injury time. The citizen scientists who present these are volunteers, and the general pattern is to start with a few photos that show the area in which they worked. We have experienced amazing virtual tours of some remote parts of Africa. Next up are a bunch of photos which have (or are about to be) uploaded to the website of the Virtual Museum. These are the species that the observers have been most excited about.

The most viewed contribution to a Virtual BioBash was by Osman Gedow who gave a fascinating presentation on his BioMAPping activities in Somalia. It has been viewed 101 times:

Here is a video that was presented and uploaded only four days ago, but which has already had 41 views. This is the first marine biobash, and it is both coastal and underwater! View it here:

“How to”

Megan Loftie-Eaton has produced four important “How to” videos. How to photograph butterfies and moths, how to photograph dragonflies, how to set up a camera trap and how to create a species distribution map in the Virtual Museum. Here are short cuts to these four videos:


We have been delighted at the response to the Zoom events and to the resulting videos on the BDI YouTube channel. Please explore all the videos in the channel, and not only the ones highlighted here.

If you have ideas and suggestions for presentations, please contact Megan Loftie-Eaton, Itxaso Quintana or me. Please contact us also if you would like to “attend” events.

Les Underhill
Les Underhill
Prof Les Underhill has been Director of the Animal Demography Unit (ADU) at the University of Cape Town since it started in 1991. Although citizen science in biology is Les’s passion, his academic background is in mathematical statistics. He was awarded his PhD in abstract multivariate analyses in 1973 at UCT and what he likes to say about his PhD is that he solved a problem that no one has ever had. He soon grasped that this was not the field to which he wanted to devote his life, so he retrained himself as an applied statistician, solving real-world problems.