A little interlude of introspection. Something caught my attention in amongst all the various news alerts that I have set up. It came from across the pond and set me thinking about how we 'birders' are perceived in our post modern world. A couple of quotes from the original piece I was reading first.
The passion and pleasure that a bird watcher finds in that hobby is inspirational. Those who bird watch are unique group of people. Bird watchers have a great sense of awareness as to what is going on around them and a degree of patience that is rare in our society.
Western society has made people quite content to drive up to a window, order, and then be on the way without ever getting out of the car. If only birding were that easy. Bird watchers can teach the busy world around them about what it means to deliberate, and to spend all day working towards a goal that may not even come to fruition. After all, not every outing is a successful one. Society can learn from the patience of a bird watcher. A business mindset causes many to think that times of inactivity are wasted. Successful people in this world capitalize on every available moment and use those moments to be proactive. The bird watchers demonstrate first hand that this is not necessarily true. These people show the world that sometimes, the best and most rewarding things are the ones that you waited patiently, quietly, and for a long time to get.
I felt quite pleased with myself after reading this. After all there is some rich praise there for us, the people that watch the birds. A little different to the sterotypical views that seem to get portrayed in the UK media where we are all obsessive, rarity lusting, twitchers who will stop at nothing to get our tick. Or maybe that just applies to the 25-30,000 of us that form the sub-tribe called 'serious birders'. Whenever I tell someone, a non-birder, that I am a birder they either subscribe to the former media stereotype or look at me oddly almost as if they are trying to picture me bespectacled, anorak clad with notebook and pen in hand.
So how are we perceived in the 21st century here in the UK. Are the media generated sterotypes all pervasive or only with those in society who can't make a value judgement of their own without reference to the Piers Morgan Encylopedia of Modern Society? Does it matter and should we be bothered?
I think we should. We all, or at least the vast majority of us, have one thing in common, our passion about birds. They can't speak for themselves. We need to be viewed by society as positive role models, something to aspire to. Yes we have the RSPB but for many they are like government, distant & remote. It lies within each of us to change the stereotypes, slowly and quietly, without fuss, to challenge them when they appear and put right the misconceptions, one non birder at a time. So next time someone laughs and says "Oh your a Twitcher then" don't just leave it, give them some insight into what we do and why. Here endeth today's sermon.
Almost forgot the birds today. The kids wanted to emulate their new hero Richard Bonser who has been writing the 'Fringe Birding' series recently in Birdwatch. RB is kind of like the Sportacus of birding to younger birders. So we went and did some Fringe Birding at Hadston Links.
Common Chiffchaff 1
Common Buzzard 1
Common Pheasant several
Goldfinch two charms of 20 & 6.