Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Birding + business travel = good

From a New York Times article, "On Business, but Checking Out the Local Airborne Fauna" by Liz Galst:

Day trips like Mr. Rosen’s — either on company time or, as is probably more usual, on weekends before or after scheduled work travel — are common among bird-watching business travelers. In fact, business travel, reviled by many forced to endure it, is frequently a boon for the nation’s 20 million birders, and their employers as well.

To begin with, bird watchers are often more eager to hit the road than their nonbirding colleagues. Cyndi Lubecke, a birder from Prospect Heights, Ill., said she had to travel 46 weeks one year for her work as a leadership training consultant. “I looked at it as an opportunity to see a lot of birds.” Some of her nonbirding co-workers, by contrast, balked.
Do you share Lubecke's perspective on business travel? I definitely do.

I have to wonder about the 20 million birders cited by the reporter. Where did that number come from? It differs from the 41.8 million bird observers cited on page 39 of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's 2006 survey. Granted, both numbers raise eyebrows within the birding industry.

I also have to chuckle at this comic's reticence to admit to birding. He's certainly not alone.

And some say the practice may also help them become more proficient at what they do for a living. “It has made me more observant,” said Bob Smith, a stand-up comic and novelist from New York who describes himself as an openly gay comic but a closeted bird watcher. (“Bird watching has a real nerdy image,” he said.)

“To really see something is a great thing for an artist, and bird watching teaches you that,” Mr. Smith said. “That focus has translated into everything I do, including into writing more interesting jokes.”
I admit to expecting birders to observe better, to really see details. When birders say or do something oblivious, I sigh internally. Do you expect birders to watch the world more closely?

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5 Comments:

Blogger John said...

Not necessarily. Birders are highly observant, but those observational skills are focused around particular types of sound or movement. It doesn't necessarily transfer well to other stimuli. Consider the problems of trespassing, ignoring signs, habitat degradation, etc., that frequently occur at rare bird locations.

March 17, 2009 12:34 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

I agree wholeheartedly with that article. In fact, I'm looking forward to my next business trip to California so we can go birding again!

March 17, 2009 12:37 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

John, it's unfortunate that the observational skills don't translate to all situations, especially the problems you cited.

Mike, looking forward to your next visit! Maybe we should target SJWS or Bolsa Chica?

March 17, 2009 12:42 PM  
Blogger Bevson said...

I bird on business all the time. I usually factor in a few days either side of the trip to explore wherever I am. My next business trip is to Miami--Dry Tortugas here I come. Birdingbev

March 17, 2009 5:45 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Good luck, Bev!

March 17, 2009 5:53 PM  

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