The unprecedented news coverage afforded the Eastern Crowned Warbler should be welcomed by birders and birding businesses, organisations and clubs up and down the country. Yes certain tabloids have displayed complete and utter ignorance and an amazing ability to get even the basics wrong and the local BBC radio station journalist sent from Radio Newcastle needs a lobotomy but.... it has thrust birding into the mainstream media in a way that has never been seen before. Media attention of this nature creates an opportunity, whether it be for the RSPB to enthuse children, local Bird Clubs to attract new members or wily business operators to piggy back on the news and the name to attract customers.
I've long believed that bird identification should be on the National Curriculum, it teaches observations skills, patience, regularly tests memory and recall as well as countless opportunities to 'engage with science'. How often have you heard or read older birders wondering where the next generation of birders or atlas workers etc is coming from? Surely it's capitalizing on events like this that could provide the spark that fuels a new wave of British birders, not that there aren't some already. So I'd say to all the movers and shakers in birding, get your thinking caps on, how do we use this for best effect, for birds, birding and birders new and old? How do we build on the momentum that has been started?