Re: Interest in birding.

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Re: Interest in birding.
From: "Max O'Sullivan" <>
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2000 10:57:23 +1000
The discussions to date re drumming up interest in birding will always be a topic of debate and little will change from the present situation.
In Australia, birding is seen as a leisure pursuit or a hobby to be taken up in maturing years - hence we will always have a predominance of retired or semi-retired enthusiasts. There are too many other pursuits in this country to attract young people and birding is not one of them. I read of the same concerns in aviculture magazines. Both are not hobbies that have the excitement value that young people seek and it isn't until later years that one appreciates the gentler pursuits of life.
I lived in Cairns until this year and it was always interesting to see the different nationalities of birders coming through there and their relative ages.
A very sweeping observation over the years indicated to me that the age and enthusiasm of birdwatchers varied dramatically with:
Scandinavian and Israeli birders being very youthful and full on fanatics with huge knowledge not only of the birds but of the area and country generally. One Israeli commented that he was surprised to find so few young birders in Australia and so many older ones. His comment about Israel was that the majority of birders are young and that there are very few mature birders in his country.
The Brits are a mixture of age groups unlike ourselves.
The Americans, Japanese and Europeans generally are similar in make-up to us.
The other frustration about non-active participants in bird groups is also a common phenomena in all clubs. Of the members, about 60 to 70% will attend meetings from time to time. Less than 50% will go on day outings, less than 25% will go on weekend camping trips and less than 10% will take an active and continuing interest in volunteering for activities associated with the club or issues associated with the club. In reality, the figures are probably much less. That is reality and should be accepted as normal for any group.
The social aspect of clubs is often the very thing that prevents them attracting younger members who want to have full-on birding and not the genteel type of group activities that are a necessary part of clubs generally. All clubs have members who want to belong to a birding organisation but don't want to involved in the associated activities - preferring to go out by themselves or with one or two like minded friends whenever the mood takes them. 
"Thems" my thoughts on the present discussion!
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