Number of birdwatchers in Australia

To: "Allan & Hazel Wright" <>, <>
Subject: Number of birdwatchers in Australia
From: "michael hunter" <>
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 20:23:30 +1100
      Britain's birds, and their territorial, breeding and migratory
behavior, are far more accessible, observable and easy to understand than
Australia's. Basic backyard birdwatching there is easier; when I was a
student in Inner London years ago, a Nightingale sang in our Finsbury Park
backyard and we were enthralled. Being thereafter "sensitised", birds became
visible wherever we went. Woods and hedgerows, fields, streams, graveyards,
and their birds, were everywhere, the birds easy to identify from field
      Britain is a small country with a lot of people (and literally
thousands of interest groups), who are generally more socially tolerant than
Australians,(but even English birdwatchers who play Rugby League need to be
careful of ridicule, particularly from the forwards). Natural History
observing as an acceptable pastime goes back a century or more, eg to
Selbourne, as part of a general appreciation of  their environment, by a
stable society, many of whom were not paricularly materialistic,  with a
long history of scientific endeavor.
      Australians by contrast are a relatively small society, and until
recent decades, "making a quid"  has been the predominant motivation of
most, with spare-times devoted sport, the beach or horse racing. There
haven't been enough left over to form a critical mass of birdos. But, things
are changing as our standard of living rises, and environmental awareness
increases. I know many non-twitchers who just aren't interested in organised
birding; who do you think buys all those field-guides?
      Having said all that, it's not just an Australian attitude that birdos
are dorks, its common throughout the English-speaking world, even in the US
which has literally millions of birdwatchers. As there are more grey nomads
with time to birdwatch , birder numbers will undoubtedly increase here as
      Still, it pays to sow the seed early. Several members of my family are
avid birdwatchers, even my 2,3 and 5 y.old grand-daughters can id most of
the birds they see, and they have amazing eyes. Their access to TV and
computers is strictly limited, and they are Aussie.



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