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midnight melon mounter
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6,621 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Worm-eating warbler. Not a common sighting around here.

That made up for a pretty slow day. A pair of Cooper's Hawks have nested smack dab in the middle of my local spot, and the bird activity is noticeably slower. Fun to watch the hawks tho.

Also got a Black-crowned Night Heron and a Green Heron, the usual early warblers, a pair of Towhees, and a pair of Wood Ducks roosting up in a big Oak.
 

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Large Suburban Male
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3,599 Posts
I have a question about birding (bird watching? I don't know the correct term).
I understand it's a pretty serious/popular undertaking (sport? hobby? pastime?).
Is it about being outside wandering around looking for birds, or is it about getting your list?
Is the list you work from local? For instance - if you have a parakeet on your list, do you have to go somewhere you know they are, or do you look locally (you mentioned you have a local spot)?

I love being outside, and birds are cool. I just never understood spending time outside looking for birds.
 

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eminence grease
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18,538 Posts
It started for me with the 1st bird feeder I put up for my mom. I got hooked when I happened to see a Cooper's Hawk dive down and take a sparrow.

It's attractive to people who like detail, investigating and being outside.

When I was very active (before bikes started to consume my time) I kept lists for my backyard, my state, other states, North America and one list for each year (state and national). It does become quite competitive - there are many books written about people doing a "Big Year" where they drive all over the country trying to tabulate as many species as possible. And interestingly, birding shares a common term with cycling - a "century" is 100 species in a day.

If you're not careful, and if you have a tendency towards being a bit OCD, it can turn into listing and little more. Although I will say that every nutcase lister I know genuinely loves the birds they see and every new species in some listed location is a special moment to them. It's never just about the numbers, the birds themselves always take center stage. But, there is a lot of reward in seeing something new, especially when it's a 1st state or regional record. I know guys who drive 100,000 miles a year within their state, hitting the hot spots every weekend and when I was one of the top 10 birders for my state, I spent a lot of time out in the field. Whenever my wife was off on business, I was out in some remote canyon for the weekend, counting away.

Given that detailed knowledge and human nature are the two biggest skills required, the peer review of unusual species is often nasty, demeaning and jealous. I stopped participating in my state review process for that simple reason.

These days for me it's about observing the bird and having a good excuse to go out for a walk. And it's a portable hobby, one you can easily do in any spot in the world. Hunting them down and getting that glimpse is very rewarding, if you appreciate nature and are willing to build some simple indentification skills.
 
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