I've followed this thread over the past few weeks and it just shows the
different routes that different folk take
Me? I was working in Yorkshire some time back (circa 1800 and frozen to death)
and my walk to work took me along a canal tow path. It was early Spring and
Spring was early and warm that year , consequently most trees were in leaf and
it suddently occured to me that I knew most of the car models that were on the
road and those of the preceding 20 years but not a single tree! OK I might know
the Oak and the Sycamore, but that was about it. I felt something akin to
shame or at least embarassment and next day bought the Observer's Book of Trees
(probably out of print now) and in no time could ID around 30 common trees on
my walk to work. From there it kinda just became inevitable that birds became
the next attraction- I haven't progressed from birds... do I have a problem?....
From: on behalf of Kurtis Lindsay
Sent: Mon 5/03/2007 8:01 PM
To: Birding Aus
Subject: Number of birdwatchers in Australia
I being in those teenage years at the moment can support the fact there is a
lack of interest in birdwatching,
however I think one of the main reasons for this is in the up-bringing.
At school I often get approached by other kids (sometimes even teachers)
with questions like "whats that loud bird I get in my backyard around summer
or "what is the difference between a Magpie and Currawong?" and I gladly
respond to their questions with as much detail as possible
without rambling on for to long. After my explanation, I often get the reply
" I never knew that" and
I think to my self, if they can't tell a Rosella from a Lorikeet then what
DO they know about nature and their local natural environment? (9/10 times
it is a big fat 0).
The reasons for this un-awareness or perceived dis-interest can be mostly
blamed on the upbringing, if the parents can't teach their children the
then who will teach these children that the Cormorant swimming in their
local lake ISN'T A DUCK?
Thats why I beleive it is important for us birders and true
environmentalists to pass on our knowledge of the birds and
other creatures and their environments to as many young people as possible
so when they older, start a familly and go to the local lakeside
to feed the ducks with their own children they can point out that black
and white submarine-shaped
bird and tell their kids that it isn't a duck but a Little Pied Cormorant.
When we can pass on a little bit of interest we can help convince the
public and the other "un-educated" environmentalists that conservation isn't
just a word used by tree-hugging vegetarians, it is a movement which we all
must support in order to keep the amazing array of wildlife around us.
Contrary to what some have said on this thread about dropping interests in
bird watching in order to become "cool" (upon reaching the teenage years),
this is not entirely true.
In my opinion, those who are into the past time enough to spend any time on
their weekends at a young age, undertaking their hobby or reading about it,
will usually have the interest to hold onto it and perhaps even find a
career in it in future.
I myself have never been overlly interested in sports but have always had an
interest in animals, particularly birds and yet I still keep a healthy
physical lifestyle by "hitting the bush" with my binos in hot pursuit of an
unusual sighting and retain healthy social relationships with my peers (even
to the extent of being "cool" and avoiding "nerd" status).
At times social events and or study can get in the way of a good bird
focused weekend but people often forget that you don't have to be on a
specific "bird outing" to go birding.
I fact I find that I am birding all the time (even while sitting at the
computer with my window open right now I am birding) for I am always
identifying calls outside or watching white dots high up in a warm
Recently I was watching a small flcok of White-throated Needletail swimming
through the sky, and when a friend asked me what I was looking at, I
explained what they were and how they got there and my friend replied "wow
thats amazing, I always thought they were just pigeons".