Number of birdwatchers in Australia

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Number of birdwatchers in Australia
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2007 14:25:35 +1100
Well if we are all or mostly to tell our story, I will also. Only on the basis 
that it might help others of course. I don't know that our reasons for starting 
are all that important. It is where we go with it that matters. Of course if we 
do know a reason for starting then that might help for the future. None of my 
family or close contacts when I was young had any serious interest in birds or 
anything remotely close to nature. Nor have any developed an interest since 
then, apart from my older brother, who studied and taught science for a while 
and is generally aware of such things. During my pre school years my family had 
a timber / hardware business and I liked machinery. At pre school I was once 
given the task to draw something related to a train story, yes I drew a train 
but most of the page was of an eagle picture. That was the start was evidence 
of a bird interest and I have no idea where it came from. During primary school 
years I had a huge back garden in Eltham in outer Melbourne. I well remember 
that the first bird call that took my interest was a Spotted Pardalote but I 
didn't know it was a bird. The family all anticipated (with some annoyance and 
fascination) the arrival of the Gang-gang Cockatoos who ate our almonds. My 
father loved going on trips to the outdoors, in particular Phillip Island, the 
Grampians and similar. At school, I attempted to virtually memorise the 
pictures in Cayley's What Bird Is That and Robin Hill's book which were the 
only Aussie bird books at the school library. I started collecting feathers and 
Tuckfield's Tea Bird Cards (the latter task I eventually completed). During the 
early 1970s being interested in birds was not something to show off about at 
school, not that I ever hid it. It did not enhance any popularity.

I joined the Melbourne BOC in 1970 when I was aged 13 and the RAOU / BA in 1975 
and have been a member of those and others ever since. That is the best boost 
that anyone could get to an interest. The issues about young members groups and 
the importance of older enthusiastic mentors was no different then to what it 
is now. It has been that and all the people met there and all the camps and 
trips and seminars, plus my academic background that provided the impetus. It 
has also been the opportunity to take a participatory or leading role in 
several studies run through those groups that has been the strongest 
contributor to my involvement. I am also interested in contributing to the 
functioning of organisations. Being interested in birds is not exclusive of 
other things. I have retained a passion for Hawthorn AFL Football (Hawks) club, 
Deep Purple, as well as many years with Toastmasters, some years with Land 
Rover club, Personal Computer Users Group, etc since then also.


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