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How much birding do you do?

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Old Monday 21st April 2003, 21:17   #1
birdman
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Question How much birding do you do?

I was gonna do this as a poll, but I guess that option has been disabled while I wasn't looking - or I'm being particularly brain-dead at the moment.

Anyway...

When I look at my life list, and depending on how I feel I guess, I tend to have two opposing views.

Either, I look at mine, then I look and hear about everyone else's and think - mine's pretty poor in comparison.

Or, I consider how much (or more accurately how little!) time I have spent pursuing my hobby, and think - well, actually it's not too bad, and I have got a 2 or 3 corkers in there IMHO.

So, that got me wondering, how much time on average do you spend seriously birding? Don't include casual birding - I expect we all have our eyes and ears peeled every time we step outside - but how much of your normal week is spent in serious pursuit of our common interest? If you are fortunate enough to work "in the trade" either as a photographer or journalist or warden etc., please try to include only "active" birding.

Of course, this is not intended as a competition, but if you want to include extra details, please do. (For example, maybe you can only generally spare an hour a week to go out, but you once went on one fabulous trip and added 100 lifers.)

As a fully-fledged member of BF now, of course, I intend to increase my birding activities, and the quality of birder I go birding with - (faun, faun!) - but for the moment, my average is less than 4 hours per week.

Last edited by birdman : Monday 21st April 2003 at 21:19.
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Old Monday 21st April 2003, 21:51   #2
KC Foggin
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The weekends are my only opportunity to do any serious birding and on the stray day I can take a vacation day from the office. Doesn't leave much time to really rack up the lifers but conversely, it gives me so many more lifers to find in my future
I would have to say, I spend approximate 6 to 8 hours seriously birding over the weekends.
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Old Monday 21st April 2003, 21:52   #3
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4 hours a week eh Birdman? I must be some kind of addict then.
I get 45 minutes for my lunch break, Monday to Thursday, which is spent birding. I finish at midday on Fridays and usually manage a couple of hours in the afternoon and then at weekend, I guess I'm currently doing about 6 hours minimum each day. So that's 15 hours a week in the field. Suppose I should get a life eh?
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Old Monday 21st April 2003, 22:06   #4
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Usually all the weekend is totally devoted to Birdwatching and I will put in virtually the whole of the daylight hours over that period. All holidays are Birdwatching holidays and any bank holidays are birdwatching bank holidays. As the nights get longer I will possibly be going out at night, in the week, as well.

To put it into perspective. On Saturday Ros & I drove to Loch Garten, Scotland, to see Capercaillie. We spent the rest of the day, until 5pm birdwatching then drove straight back arriving at Birmingham at 02:30.

Looking at what I have typed, I think I have to say that I am a bit of a fanatic. Does any body disagree? LOL
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Old Monday 21st April 2003, 22:44   #5
ron
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I love to be out in the countryside, not necessaryily birdwatching
but just relaxing.I have a wife and 2 children, my son also likes to birdwatch but like most 12 year olds likes to visit new places and
add new birds to his life list. This makes it difficult to keep his intrest going. I also have to keep[ the other 2 happy, which means 2 venues, 1 for nature, 1 for the others.
I personaly try to visit my local reserves once a fortnight, work
permiting.
I don't really bother keeping a life list but my son keeps a
tight eye one his.
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Old Monday 21st April 2003, 22:49   #6
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An interesting thread

JohnJ .... I'd certainly call that 'devoted'


For my part I get on average a day a week, some weeks 2 days, depending on work and overtime etc.

The days aren't always taken up fully by bird / nature watching though, as I share my hobby with the girlfriend who's a keen countryside walker, not really into bins & scope, but it works quite well ..... usually
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Old Tuesday 22nd April 2003, 06:18   #7
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I bird when I can. It probably works out to about two serious birding trips per year.It is difficult in this country as many places are not safe for walking in and most reserves, which are safer, are a few hours drive from here and costly to enter. On most weekends I probably spend two or three hours birding locally. Like Ron, I am happy just to be in the bush, but I do keep a life list.
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Old Wednesday 23rd April 2003, 10:45   #8
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I don't get to go birding nearly as much as I would like.

I bird on weekends, especially in the spring, but so often have to cut my time short as spring is a very busy time for the orchestra as well, which means concert duty for me in the evenings. So that often means that great birding trips that my Audubon group takes to the Lake Michigan shoreline or to Crane Creek on Lake Erie don't work for me. They leave usually around 6 a.m. and don't get back until 6 or 7 pm. And I usually have to be at work by 7pm -- even if I'm not staying for the concert!

I'm always influenced by the weather, too -- and don't spend a lot of time in the winter out and about. And high temps and humidity in the summer will also convince me to stay close to an air conditioner.

Last year, West Nile Virus was a factor, too, as my area was hard hit in human numbers as well as bird numbers.

But I go out when I can, and do enjoy watching my feeders when I can. And at the moment, although I cannot see them from where I'm sitting, White-Throated Sparrows are singing their "Ol' Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody' song rather lustily!!
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Old Wednesday 23rd April 2003, 16:48   #9
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Well now, I guess it depends on your definition of "birding", huh? I work all week so I actually only go out "in the field" over the weekends. I usually do about 8 hours over the weekend, but during the week I am always watching my feeders. Also, everywhere I go I am looking at the birds.....I have to admit sometimes when driving the car I am a hazard!!
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Old Wednesday 23rd April 2003, 17:00   #10
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I know exactly what you mean, Dianne.

I turn my birding senses on everytime I look outside, never mind go out the door - but this casual or passive birding is something I imagine we all do.

As I said at the start, 4 hours a week is about my average!

John J certainly is devoted (good on yer, John). I think the farthest I have ever travelled in one day for the specific purpose of birding is to Rutland Water and back - maybe 100 miles or so each way.

That said, I am keeping an eye on the no-frills airlines, 'cos if I could get from East Midlands to Faro and back in a day (for a pittance of course) I'd be of like a shot!
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Old Wednesday 23rd April 2003, 18:00   #11
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I retired from wildlife conservation work about a year ago, 'cos of a dodgy knee and Mr. Blair's labour laws.

Before I worked in conservation any spare time was spent birding including some serious twitching. Birding for pleasure soon became too much of a busman's holiday and sorry to say this, got bored of birders. A much too high percentage of them seemed to think reserves were there for their benefit and not wildlife and it all happens by wires and magic. I swear if I heard "Why don't you do ...?" once more, I'd have strangled someone.

Apart from leading walks and running courses had pretty much given up birding. But just recently starting to get the bug a bit again, although I think it's more the chance to get out and get a bit of mud on my boots again. Still get bored ridged by birding bores though, so tend to stay away from the major sites.
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Old Monday 1st December 2003, 13:17   #12
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Hi birdman.Iget out at week ends and sometimes once in the week work permiting.If the weathers bad i watch the birds at my bird feeders to see whots about.I love birding so as long asthe birds are there it dont really matter.
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Old Monday 1st December 2003, 13:24   #13
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Thanks for bringing this back up, Ken, because I've been thinking about it this week.

Reason being, I am pleased to report, is that my birding hours have most definitely increased.

With the onset of the dark nights, the hours available are down again, but I do get a minimum of 1 trip "outback" which takes between 2 and 3 hours, per week weather permitting (which it has been up to now).

During the summer, 3 trips was the average I would say, plus any special days out... so... thanks to everyone who contributes to this site for giving my hobby a real shot in the arm this year.

Although I do most of my birding alone or with partnyorsha, I do feel part of a wider birding community!
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Old Monday 1st December 2003, 13:50   #14
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Its a great life Birdman.But too short.
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Old Monday 1st December 2003, 14:09   #15
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I mentioned in another thread that my life list is modestly below 250 and a partial explanation of this is the fact that I don't do enough birding. I have never really established a local pathc here in Bedfordshire and that means I tend not to nip out for the odfd half hour or more. My score tended to rise when I had a local patch in Gwynedd and my home in Lancashire not from the patch but because I had more access to word of mouth. I usually start a year list off on the 1st of January and then interests wanes until the spring migration. Then intrests dips again in late summer to the point when I never regain my enthusiasm for the autumn migration. Mind you, I have always lived too far away from the best migration sites for autumn.
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Old Monday 1st December 2003, 14:16   #16
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I struggle for time - and my birding hours are rigidly defined by my good lady wife!

I`m allowed 1/2 a day on Sundays
Once per month I can have a full day on a Sunday
For mega rarities - I usually just tell my wife a white lie and say i`ve got a presentation or seminar with work then book a day off (but have to be sparing thats 4-5 days/year at most!!)
Mid week in Summer I usually tend to get a few before work sessions in - but shorter daylight hours curtail that through th winter months.

I have it tough don`t I!!!!
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Old Monday 1st December 2003, 14:16   #17
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Usually put in a few hours in the week mainly patch watching (Summer a bit more as it is light after work) and one day every other weekend is usual but can vary, trying to go a bit further afield to see rarer birds.

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Old Monday 1st December 2003, 15:00   #18
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I suffered a heart attack in April and was told to slow my life style down and also I had to walk 2 miles a day.I had grown up as a child in Buckinghamshire and had the freedom of 2,000 acres of private estate where my father worked and as a child I roamed this estate along with the other kids who lived on the estate and we new every inch of the estate and as boys did then we collected eggs so I considered my self an expert on birds even thoufh this was some 40 years ago. As part of my new exercise regime I started walking around a local nature reserve ( Anglers Country Park at Wintersett ) and soon realised the place was full of birds mainly Ducks with the occasional Wader. So out came the Binnoculars to accompany me on my walks and I soon realised that I actually knew nothing about Ducks and Waders and that the binnoculars were useless. A new pair were soon purchased and the R.S.P.B. book of Birds.
I became fascinated by this new hobby and so did my wife. Another pair of binnoculars had to be purchased. We then progressed to Scopes ( 2 ) and made visits to Titchwell and Rutland and our three local reserves Fairburn Ings,Blactoft Sands and Old Moor.Our list stands at 117 since April But our prime interest is to watch birds and not neccessarily run up a big total list.
I have now progresseed to Digiscoping ( not very successfully despite a lesson from Andy I still have,nt taken an image I would dare post on the Galley even if I knew how to ). I have a completley knew interest in my life and I only wish I had taken it up earlier.To answer a couple of previous threads we have always found other birdwatchers extremely helpful when we in hides together and we always take our bird books with us to aid I.D but it is said that Yorkshire folk are the freindliest oon Gods earth.
How much time birding in a week? 2-3hrs a day more on weekends if we visit a reserve. Best days birding? Any one I wake up to and can walk our local patch. We still get confused on I.D. and still don,t really know what a passerine is but the people we,ve met have been superb and its going to be a long apprenticeship but a thoroughly enjoyable and exciting one.
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Old Monday 1st December 2003, 16:41   #19
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Hi Birdman,

I reckon I must get out about once a week on average and that each trip lasts 3-6 hours or so.

If my boss would only continue to pay me, but I didn't have to actually do any work, my hours would be increased considerably!
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Old Monday 1st December 2003, 17:00   #20
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Depends on time of year. Nov to Feb about 2 hours or less a week. I just don't like standing around in the cold.

[I am not anti winter, it just seems to be a less active time to run around looking for birds. In winter, mostly short walks, or whatever snow activity the kids decide to do, if there is snow].

I figure most people with bird feeders do some indoor watching, though.

My son goes on scout trips, and there I may spend 4-5 hours on a week end. There is not much for dads to do on the trips once we unpack and camp.

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Old Monday 1st December 2003, 17:10   #21
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I am retired after 34 years with the Quaker Oats Company. I have been actively birding four, five or six days a week since I retired three years ago. I usually do not bird on Sundays as we attend church and then I usually watch some sporting event on the television. When I do go out birding it is usually for four to five hours in the morning. Sometimes I will bird in the afternoon. Generally, I have found the birding to be much more productive in the morning than in the afternoon, so that is when I do most of my birding.

In hours spent birding, it would be anywhere from 16 hours to 30 hours a week. Sometimes it is "almost like a job", but I enjoy every minute of it!

Am I "some sort of a nut or what"?

We have taken trips around the states with the primary purpose of looking for birds. But, my wife is not quite as avid as I, so we do take "breaks" from birding to do other things.

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Old Monday 1st December 2003, 18:29   #22
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On a normal working week probably 5 hours but that doesn't include walking to Tesco's for a paper on Saturday and Sunday mornings (I have a list!!).

When I'm on holiday I'll try and do some (well usually alot). Trips to the New forest, Suffolk and Norfolk this year were virtually all bird related.

Days off usually inolve me off with the bins somewhere or other.
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Old Monday 1st December 2003, 18:58   #23
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Normal weeks I just get in 4 to 6 hours. More in winter and less in summer. We do however try to make 3 to 4 "Birding" trips every year which we really enjoy.

I enjoy the trips more as we tend to find more new birds and I have to admit I find the search for the new a little more exciting that watching the old.
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Old Monday 1st December 2003, 19:08   #24
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About the same as Pete. But weekends & days off eight to ten hours around my local patch. I rarley go anywhere else nowadays.

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Old Monday 1st December 2003, 19:22   #25
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Hi Birdman.
Most saturdays are my birding days, from first light
till its to dark! in summer I try to get a few hours
in the evening, er indoors permiting, so i dont think thats to bad.
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