Although originally from Ireland I have had some contact with people in
the UK - as I'm sure other subscribers to this list have too - and I
would not be particularly surprised if the no of people interested in
birds in the UK was 35,000,000. The fact that these are not all
binocular-toting, wader-wearing, scope-carrying loonies who birdwatch 24
x 7 is neither here nor there. It would be a rare garden that did not
have some sort of bird bath, bird table or feeder for the tits in
winter. Proportionally I would suggest that the no of 'people interested
in birds' in the UK far outnumbers a similar percentage in Australia. I
remember 24 years ago arriving here and thinking "if they spent half as
much energy on the environment as they do on sport - WOW!" - i still
believe this, although admitedlly the situation has improved.
As far as birders themseleves go - we've all seen or heard of the mad
twitchers in the UK with their pager systems and phone calls and mad
scrambles to record the latest rarity. I would not be surprised to find
that more birders in England turn up for one of these twitches than
actually exist in any major city in Australia?
I think the differential between "interested in birds and birding" and a
"birder" is very important. My great aunt in Gloucester in the UK loves
birds, but would be unlikley to be able to tell the difference between a
House Sparrow and a Starling. As opposed to, I believe, the majority of
Australians who don't even see birds never mind care for, feed or ID
I think we've a long way to go and it's nice being different anyway.
Maybe we should invent some funny handshakes or nods and winks so we can
recognise each other in varied company.
Count members of clubs - cool - you won't count me! I'm just not a
joiner! I enjoy my birding alone or with one, or at most, two others. I
consider myself verging on the rabid - depending on the time of year. I
dislike trying to bird between November and February after 8.30am in the
morning. The heat's a killer. Some weeks I will bird twice at weekends,
if not the whole weekend, and 2 or even three times prior to work
Mon-Fri and if I have my rostered day off maybe then too! Then again I
might go a couple of weeks without if I have other family or work
As I've mentioned before - heaps of birders read this and the archives
but few contribute - it woudl be a good place to start - we might be
So many birds, so little time......
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