Number of birdwatchers in Australia

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Number of birdwatchers in Australia
From: Gary Davidson <>
Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2007 12:38:54 -0500 (EST)
If this thread proves anything, it's that there are a many diverse factors that 
contribute to one's interests in nature and birds.  Mine was certainly NOT 
upbringing.  Neither of my parents had the slightest interest in the outdoors.  
We didn't even have a back garden.  My Dad didn't want to bother with gardens 
and lawns to be cut.  My parents lived their entire lives in a block of flats.  
Although not born in Vancouver, I grew up there from the age of nine.  So what 
does a city boy do at that age when his parents don't go on holidays very 
often?  I joined the Boy Scouts.  I'm not sugggesting that this movement turned 
me into a birder, but it did provide the opportunity to go camping and to get 
out of the city.  But I was still not a birder, just an avid "outdoors" person. 
 It was not until uni that my birding interests were sparked.  I was on a brief 
camping trip with a friend from uni.  We were walking along a track and a small 
yellow bird flashed across in front of us.
 In unison we said, "what was that?!"  Somehow we got hold of a bird book that 
night and, to our amazement, found the little bird in the book.  It was a 
MacGillivray's Warbler.  We spent the next three days wandering around in the 
woods looking for more things to look up in the book.  And a birder was born!
  I guess my point is, that there was something in my personality that made me 
interested in the outdoors and nature.  It was not my upbringing or any 
influence from my parents.
  Gary Davidson
  Nakusp, BC

Gemfyre <> wrote:
  I've been interested in nature and conservation for as long as I can
remember (so, since I was about 5 years old). Between the ages of 6 and 9 I
pretty much refused to read fiction, I'd only read "fact books" about nature
and animals and science.)

I always had a passing interest in birds, like I did in animal, I knew what
a magpie and a magpie lark were, I knew the Singing, Brown and New Holland
honeyeaters and the differences between a Pacific Black Duck and a Wood
Duck, but it didn't extend hugely beyond that.

In late '03 I moved into a place right near Lake Monger and Herdsman in
Perth and started to pay a bit more attention to the birds on those lakes, I
figured birdwatching was the most worthwhile pastime because they were
easier to see than mammals (I was also under the mistaken impression that it
would be a cheap hobby!) I used to ID them and started
learning my basic waterfowl. Dad gave me an old pair of his Pentax
binoculars and I bought a Simpson & Day and I was off. Early '04 I started
attending BAWA walks and learned a heap more and became a lister, ticker and
a twitcher within my means (when I heard Freckled Duck had appeared on
Herdsman Lake I went straight down there and saw them, but even now I can't
afford to fly across the country on a whim).

I also gained a degree in Conservation Biology and now work for the
Department of Environment and Conservation. So for me, being one of the
younger set (I was 24 when I started seriously birding and am 27 now), it
started with conservation and moved onto birds being a specific interest.
With the older birdos it seems to work the other way around - which is
understandable, when you "oldies" were young environmental issues weren't
really at the forefront. You're lucky however that you've been in jobs that
actually pay well and can now sit back and enjoy the birding, unlike those
of us trying to make a living out of conservation work, which isn't the best
paying industry in the world.

As Kurtis mentioned, I'm ALWAYS birding as well. Every day I write a list
of everything I saw that day and often go out of my way to find a bird that
I should have seen that day but haven't yet. It makes every minute in the
great outdoors interesting.

I was also never a sporting type, but had the luck of going on a family
holiday (by car) at least once a year so I got to see most of the state,
which only bolstered my love of nature and desire to conserve it. School
and my peers had absolutely nothing to do with that for me, but I was one of
the weird ones with few friends. I was more content doing my own thing.


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