Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Why bird?

Someone recently asked me this question... why bird? There's generally a slight disconnect between birders and non-birders. Non-birders think that birders sit in one place and wait for a bird to appear and when it does, they ogle it and then wait for the next bird. While this may be true for some people (and for Big Sits), birding generally involves a bit more muscular effort than that. Non-birders also seem to always ask me the same question, "Ok..... so after you see the bird, what do you do next?" Inevitably, I give a dumb response like, "Well, you look for another bird." They just don't seem to get that this can be a fun activity.

I've tried comparing birding to treasure hunts, collecting, fishing, hunting, reading a book, and many other analogies. The best way to get someone to understand and appreciate our hobby is to actually bring someone out with you. They will understand the fun and magic of it all. They will see the beauty of nature, the wonder of being outside, and the great feeling of finding the birds. They will realize that it doesn't just have to be about listing or walking around in goofy clothes.

So did I really answer the question of "Why bird?"??? It's hard to give a firm answer. I have many different reasons, but everything about it just gives me satisfaction. Comraderie, learning, teaching, traveling, competition, etc. It's all fun. It's a hobby that can be taken almost anywhere and shared with people. You can get as deep into it as you want or you can barely skim the surface. There's never a dull or uninteresting excursion. That's why I bird.

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