Adam Dhalla, a Vancouver, B.C.-area teen who won the 2018 American Birding Association Young Birder of the Year Award, went looking for a mobile game for birders six years ago. He was surprised to find there were none.
That got him thinking about why there aren’t a lot of young people in the birding community and how, maybe, the right kind of birding game could spark interest in the activity and in habitat conservation. He was 9 at the time.
Six years later, he’s launched Find the Birds, a free educational mobile game about birds and conservation, with the help of his father and a grant from the Canadian government that allowed him to partner with Thought Generation, a nonprofit that makes educational games.
Just a few weeks old, the game is already being played in 45 countries on 6 continents and has earned an average review of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Apple and Google Play.
Dhalla, who will be 16 next week, explained the game’s premise and real-life connections: “Players travel the globe searching for birds, collect species info cards featuring content from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and do conservation quests to help them. The first in-game location is Arizona — includes the critically endangered California Condor. This game is a great way for all ages to learn about nature & science safely during the pandemic and in an environmentally responsible manner (as game is zero-carbon).”
Dhalla said he and his co-creators are working on the game’s next level, which will be set in British Columbia and that Washington state could possibly be next.