As some will know I have a shop, in a place that gets it's fair share of visiting birders passing through. In fact most weeks I get someone coming in with bins around their neck. I always enquire politely "Have you seen anything?".
The reaction is often the same, a sharp glance in my direction, hesitation, a muttered reply. I have to begin to offer information before anyone seems to open up. What's going on? I have several theories, either:
1. The majority of birders are too afraid of talking about what they have seen to someone unknown because the other person might know more than them.
2. The majority of birders are too afraid of talking about what they have seen with someone unknown because (shock, horror, disbelief) the unknown individual might not be a birder and therefore know sweet FA and begin to rattle on about this blue bird they saw in their garden last week.
3. The majority of birders are so used to spending time alone in the field that when someone approaches them with conversation they are rather shocked and unable to form a sensible reply.
4. Lots of birders, mostly men, are grumpy old bastards that find conversation with anyone they don't know difficult and a waste of time.
Now I know i'm over-generalising as i know at least two birders who are fairly approachable, but jeesus some of us need to lighten up.