Friday, June 30, 2006

To bird or not to bird... To blog or not to blog...

To commemorate the 1 year anniversary of the I and the Bird blog carnival, Mike of 10,000 Birds has derived a theme for this installment: Why do you bird and/or why do you blog and/or why do you blog about birds?

A co-worker recently asked me this question... why do I 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. Camaraderie, 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.

I've explained why I bird, now let me talk about why I blog. I am a relative late comer to the world of blogging, but I had followed many of the bird blogs that have been around for a while for some time. I found that blogs were a great way to share knowledge and also a source of entertainment. I always enjoyed reading people's accounts of their birding adventures, species descriptions, and photography. I learned a whole lot by living vicariously through bloggers.

Lately, I've really wanted to be more active in the birding community. I want to network with other birders, attend conferences and festivals, and lead tours. I also love to teach people about birds. In the trips I've lead, this has been the most rewarding part for me. Nothing beats teaching someone something new about birds. I figured blogging would be a good way to generate that same feeling. My blog has been a good outlet for all of the nature-related stuff floating around my head that I want to share with people. So far, so good I think. Thanks for reading.

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