• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Are we born bird-watchers (1 Viewer)

russkie

Well-known member
Ive been a lifelong birder. Ive never claimed to be the greatest birder in the world but I still gat that buzz every time I go out. Im not a twitcher - I dont think Im competitive enough for that.
However even at the age of 51 I get a great feeling inside if I find a new patch or manage to identify a bird after half an hour of going backwards and forwards in in the field guide.
So my thought is -- is it a certain type of person who becomes a birder- both my parents are -although now in their late 70's they seldom go out. My father became a birder because he wanted something to do on his travels abroad, my mother tagged along and was involved in a ringing group in Cyprus in the 1970's. Ive been brought up on birds.
Are those people who come to birding late in life doing so because this is their destiny -they just havent had the time or opportunity in the past, or been pointed in the right direction.
There have been times in the past due to other commitments that I have drifted out of it- but then my personality is such that Ive tried fishing and metal detecting too. But ive always drifted back into it -and somehow have had more enthusiasm when Ive come back after a break.
Now Im living in Cambodia all the old enthusiasm is back with a vengeance- new habitats to explore- an unfamiliar field guide with unfamiliar layout and bird families to distinguish.
Is this the rush that new birders feel - daunted by the vastness of the subject.
A bit of a ramble on from an old boy, but let me know your thoughts.
And if youre ever out this way - contact me - I can help you plan your trip.

cheers
Nigel
 
I think you are born with it but it develops later. I gave this subject a lot of thought when I was trying to describe my hobby on my pc journal. I compared it (in my thoughts) to religion for example, I'm not anti religious & I enjoyed the church things as a child, but I dont "get it" I dont know how people feel that level of belief or joy. It was brought home to me when a young boy in the neighborhood was killed in a road accident & the parents found comfort in god.

I use religion as an example because when it comes to birding, most people I know dont get it & I cant describe it.

Anyway enjoy your new experiences.
 
Interesting question, on the "nature v. nurture" curve. I don´t know the answer, but I imagine a lot of us are born "predisposed" to solitary activities involving wild places, and birds provide a vehicle towards these.
 
I don't think so. As a child (and even a few years ago) I cared nothing about birds. As a child I always partook in the "try and hit the pigeon with a rock" games, and didn't think twice about it. Even a few years ago when we got our yard put in my mom saw a bird land in the tree as we were out there. When she told me my reply was "Oh wow a bird, how fascinating."
I know for sure it wasn't born within me!
 
I can identify with you enthusiasm. I suspect you have asked question to show how much your hobby means to you.
Obviously nobody is born to be birdwatcher, I believe certain personality types maybe more predisposed though. One things for certain, once you catch the bug its, gladly, hard to get rid of.
 
I can identify with you enthusiasm. I suspect you have asked question to show how much your hobby means to you.
Obviously nobody is born to be birdwatcher, I believe certain personality types maybe more predisposed though. One things for certain, once you catch the bug its, gladly, hard to get rid of.

I was introduced to birdwatching by my father when I was 12. I was bitten by the birding bug and memorised the birds in the bird book he gave me. I am now 40 and still going strong. I think though as you get older you start deciding for yourself if certain 'hobbies' that you are shown by others when you were younger are worth persuing as you age and make your own choices about certain things, dropping those you don't like anymore and keeping those that you do.
Or maybe that's just me and how I look at birding.
 
Flush

actually Ive found some Roman coins and a couple of 16th cent silver ones - it was a hobby i dipped in and out of- but certainly wouldnt do it here with millions of landmines still in the ground
 
Interesting question, on the "nature v. nurture" curve. I don´t know the answer, but I imagine a lot of us are born "predisposed" to solitary activities involving wild places, and birds provide a vehicle towards these.

I think that this is spot on.

However I'm not sure that there is a typical "bird watcher". Perhaps some people are born to be a certain type of birder, but my reasons for birding are not necessarily the same as yours or the next persons. I've thought a lot about this over the years. I go birding for two reasons, but neither reason involves the asthetics of the individual bird, if that makes sense. Sure I'm interested in hearing a bird sing, and I like good close views, but I don't find great beauty in either, whatever the species. Sad but true.

What I like most are great spectacles. I love to see Peter Scott paintings. Wide open estuaries and salt marsh, jagged mountains, raging seas, spectacular sunsets. In these situations, birds are just the focal point, they're not the reason for being there, but they are an essential part of the whole, holding it all together and without which the rest is meaningless. The whole experience is like a painting for me. Imagine Constables Hay Wain without the horse and cart. Still a decent painting but not a classic! I can't explain it any more than that and it probably doesn't make sense.

Birds also fullfil a lesser and secondary, but still important requirement. I love to gather data and analyse it. I love to see trends. This almost forces me out into the field on a regular, almost obsessive basis, because I'm desparate to gather more data.

So was I born to be a birder? I'm not sure. I was born to enjoy my own company in wild lonely places, and I was born to enjoy data analysis, but I wasn't born to enjoy the asthetics of the birds themselves. I'm not even sure I'm a birder, based on what I've said above!
 
Good Question, but I'm not sure of the answer. I go on a fair number of trips with local birding groups. One thing I've noticed is that birders seem to run the gamut of personality types. From nonstop extroverts to shy, studious introverts. From obsessive-compulsive competitive listers to those who just enjoy watching wildlife. So if there is a "personality type" associated with birding, I have yet to discover what exactly it is. I don't find much more in common with birders than I do with those who get passionate about sports, for example.

What I like most are great spectacles.

We do have an optics forum for that.;) (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Best,
Jim
 
I was a born wildlife lover, that's for sure.

When I was a kid I would collect insect from under rocks and look at them, I guess my interest and love for wildlife continued from there.

I don't really class myself specifically as a birdwatcher, although most of my friends would, I just have a massive love for wild animals, especially British ones. I think that anyone with a love for wildlife naturally gravitates towards birds because we see so many all the time that we cannot identify. It's the not knowing that spurs me on to learn more, I love mammals, but it's exceptionally rare that I would ever see a mammal in the UK that I couldn't ID.

There are just so many birds out there so it keeps it interesting.
 
No, I wouldn't say we are born bird-watchers.

Nature as a whole does have attractions for humans, or certainly a significant proportion of humans, but birds are only part of the natural world so you cannot confine it just to birds. There are people out there getting as much out of invertebrates, fish, mammals and flora as there are getting something out of birds.
 
I wouldn't say we are born birders either. I noticed garden birds from a young age, could identify robin, blackbird etc, but I wasn't into bird watching then, horses were my passion. Then years later friends & I wanted to do an evening class together, something different, so we joined a bird class. The presenter/teacher happened to be the president of the RSPB local group, through him we joined the RSPB & the local group, we have had & still do have, many happy hours birding on trips with our local group.
 
I had a father and brothers who were avid bird watchers but I came to it late
after I was unable to work anymore and came to love the flight of birds and all their
habits...

M
 
My mom introduced me to birding, I don't think I would have gotten interested without her. She in her turn was introduced by a colleague who was a great birder of the old school (having ringed in the 1930's and so on). Most birders I know have been introduced either by their parents or by a friend, rather few seem to have started out on their own. But born birders? Nah... although most birders I know are very interested in nature in general, and maybe that love is something people have more or less? I dunno.
 
I don't really think we were born birders either. For myself I wouldn't be a birder (if not much later on in life) hadn't it been for my father who reguarly took me out in nature on hikes and the sort when I was a small child and showed me the beauty of it. Had I never had contact with nature, been placed infront of the tv and computer games all the time, the chances of starting an interest in birds would have been minimal. I really think that if some of the present teenagers had had more contact with nature at a younger age, if not developing a direct interest in birds (or plants etc)...they would at least have more respect for nature.

Of course certain parts of the character helps in becoming a birder - for example being curious would make you more eager to identify birds etc...
 
Last edited:
I think some early exposure to nature is essential. Though a city kid, I spent my first 12 summers in some cabins. When I was 14 I also had to collect 80 plants for school and classify them. I am no fanatic about plants. They never migrate, so I have to go meet them where they live.
 
I am no fanatic about plants. They never migrate, so I have to go meet them where they live.
LOL! But doesn´t that simplify matters? You can search for them on your terms and in your time. Garden Warblers, for example, have broken my heart by refusing to be exactly where I look for them for the last seven years.
 
Hoping not to sound too much like a "Colonial Frontiersman" - I do consider humans to be 'hard wired' for hunting and gathering. Also for spontaneous observation of all things wild. I base this on working in American national parks and much time spent with (forgive me) primitive cultures. Sure, cities and states and cultural practices can overcome this trait - but we are 'eyes forward' with a tad of a history before books, bread, and computers came along. I've had the pleasure of seing the same bird observed by those who would like to cook it and those who've spent gobs of money to just plain observe it. Minus the salivating - both sides, quite excited. I intend this trait to be viewed in a quite postive way. Humans have a great tie to perhaps 7 million years of evolution. It has always paid to be observant.
 
Warning! This thread is more than 15 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.

Users who are viewing this thread

Back
Top