Monday, July 17, 2006

"Birdwatcher" or "birder," part 2

The last few days, the comments to last Monday's post have been rolling around my head. I wanted to know when folks began to use "birder" in addition to "birdwatcher," who created the distinction between the terms and how the different attitudes developed. Are the terms helpful, exclusionary, confusing?

Then John posted some thoughts this morning.

I trace my first exposure to the term birder with the formation of the American Birding Association in about 1970-1971. I was initially (and still am, to some extent) turned off by the ABA's emphasis on listing. Among the birding elite, a birdwatcher may be viewed with some disdain as someone who is less accomplished or sophisticated in the identification of birds, even though that person may be extremely knowledgeable about the birds of their backyard or neighborhood. ... These days I generally identify myself as a birder (not wanting to be derided as one of those birdwatchers!), though I remain much more interested in watching (and listening) than in mere listing.
So who else became aware of "birder" via ABA's genesis? How common is it to encounter "birdwatcher" used derisively?

I know a fair number of listers who maintain various tallies but know tons about the birds' behaviors, calls, songs, etc. Are they unusual? Maybe, maybe not... but they're more than I.D. collectors. They're well-versed naturalists who think of listing as a game that adds even more fun to birding, not as the point of birding.

It can be easy to categorize ourselves and our birding companions into black-and-white groups. I wonder, though, if it's to the community's detriment.

Waiting for your input...

4 Comments:

Blogger John L. Trapp said...

To be fair, the terms "birdwatcher" and birder" are largely synonymous. Birding skills overlap broadly, and a person who considers themselves a birdwatchwer may be no more or less accomplished or knowledgeable than a hardcore birder. There have been many discussions about the differences on various listservs. It is generally agreed that there is broad overlap, and any differences are largely ones of personal perception. But then again, consider that Birdwatcher's Digest is aimed at a general audience, while ABA's Birding magazine is aimed at a more advanced audience.

July 17, 2006 6:54 PM  
Blogger Shawn Kielty said...

I did manage to see a Harris Hawk! I manged to see one on the wires above as I spun by on my bicycle.

July 21, 2006 10:35 PM  
Blogger Shawn Kielty said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

July 21, 2006 10:36 PM  
Blogger Brenda Sue said...

My Love Of BicyclesI have owned many different bicycles in my life. I decided in my early twenties that I could live just fine with just a few bicycles and without a car. I have different bicycles for different uses.I live in Houston and use the Houston streets for my transportation. I regularly use one of my light duty mountain bicycles for grocery shopping. The light duty mountain bicycles are not as tough as my mountain bicycles. Light duty mountain bikes are also referred to as trail bikes.I would never take a trail bike off-road. I have a really tough mountain bike with a full suspension system for taking camping. I try to get out and really ride on my mountain bicycle at least once per month. I usually know at least one person that is going cycling every weekend. It is easy to hitch a ride with them.Some of the most expensive bicycles are recumbent. I bought one for myself and I love it. It allows me to sit in a reclined position and pedal with my feet forward. My recumbent bicycle seat feels like a lounge chair. My model is one of the faster ones and I love it.I had a boyfriend once that was also interested in bicycles. We rode together everywhere and he talked me into buying a tandem bicycle. That was a huge mistake. We just could not work together on that bicycle and it amplified the problems in our relationship that were just below the surface. We broke up about two months after the purchase of that tandem bike.I was on one of my bicycles just getting some exercise last week and I rode past a retirement community and saw something amazing. I thought I was up on all of the available bicycles, but I had never seen an adult tricycle before. They were amazing. I stopped and chatted with one of the women riders and she told me that she hadnt been able to ride bicycles in about twenty years. She needed the stability that the adult tricycle had to offer and felt like she had new freedom.My nephew has recently become interested in bicycles. He wants a BMX bicycle for his birthday. He asked me for it because, as the most enthusiastic bicycle rider he knows, I am most likely to indulge his desire. I think that I am going to try to talk him into a free style bike instead. If I cant talk him into a free style bike, I may end up buying both bicycles for him. I want him to love cycling as much as I do.To learn more about everything bicycles vist my site at: BrensMartUSA Bicycles Have a geat day and stay healthy!Brenda Sue

March 18, 2007 2:43 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home