> My prediction is that in a few decades time we'll have legions of people
> interested in conservation and nature in a general fuzzy way, but that the
> amateur naturalist tradition (of observation, investigation, detailed
> knowledge of the biota) will have waned away to almost nothing. This will
> great loss
If your scenario pans out the loss of passionate interest in all things
natural would be a huge loss for humanity and the natural world. I hope you
are wrong ... for the record, I believe your predictions ARE wrong.
However, we will need to redefine or, at least, rejuvenate interest in
natural history in ways that compliment our changing society. Who knows,
the "new" birding might become a fad, hopefully not because all the
interesting animals and plants have gone extinct ... I can't help but make a
comparison with the current interest in dinosaurs. Is there a lesson to be
learned by making such a comparison? Believe me, I am not trying to be
controversial for the sake of controversy (please read the reminder of this
e-mail before responding).
> Spit it out. What are you trying to say here? This seems to be the
> backhander to the perceived EVIL of twitching again.
I am not against twitching (at the last tally in 1996: my world list stood
at 4089 and my Australian 459)... in fact, a few of us have designed a new
way to enjoy listing ... we call it behaviour-listing (now my list is much
smaller, grin). I hope, however, that my passion for wanting to know (and
think) as much as possible about the behaviour of birds isn't interpreted as
a dislike for twitching. I doubt if many people, including yours truly,
would be interested in rehashing this very old topic.
> Twitching is such a tiny proportion of the birding spectrum -
I disagree with this statement. Twitching is huge and drives the commerical
side of birding. So be it ... I, absolutely, have no problems with this.
Based on personal experience and much discussion with other bird enthusiasts
, I think I can say with confidence that there is more enjoyment and more
satisfaction to be gained from watching bird than is realised by most
amateur enthusiasts. My interests lie in identify what these "new"
perspectives might be and how best to bring them into the spotlight. It is
my opinion that the world of birdwatching and pursuit of natural history, in
general, is healthy. I predict is that there will be a change that
highlights a more interactive approach (for all ages) than is currently the
norm for amateurs. In closing, setting a positive example is perhaps the
best way to encourage an interest in birdwatching and other pursuits related
to the natural world.
Dr Wm James Davis, Editor
Interpretive Birding Bulletin
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