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Some new guy questions. (1 Viewer)


New member
First question.

Which publications/societies/organizations or otherwise are “the best”. I don’t have money burning a hole in my pocket but I want to support some of these publications. Cornell, ABA, bird watchers digest, or Audubon to name a few are all publications I have run across... which are the best bang for your buck and why? Which did I miss that are even better? Also bonus point if any of the money goes to conservation.

Second question.

Speaking of conservation I’m all about the duck stamp idea. It even gets you into some parks and otherwise. Any other good places to donate or good ways to help conservation efforts... especially if they have little perks like the duck stamps do. Everyone has a busy life so given the limited time what is the most effective way to spend it to help out?

Third question.

What do you put in the notes section of your bird list? The way they sing? Male/female? A little poem to remind you of the beautiful life bird moment? I look at that area and hear about people writing notes and I think... nothing... cause I have no clue what it’s for. Let me know what you use it for.

Fourth question.

Is it ok to just talk to other birders on a trail like “seen anything cool today?” Or “what you lookin at?” Very quietly of course. I feel like anytime I see someone walking through the woods with some fancy optics I say hi but I tend to get this look like “why are you talking to me?” Maybe I’m just ugly. I dunno. But I try to be friendly. Maybe my kids are a put off or something as they are kinda attached to me in this covid world. Or are birders somewhat socially awkward as a stereotype. Is that just what local bird clubs are for? Maybe the people generally by themselves just wanna be by themselves... or is this covid thing just scaring people? Thoughts?

Anyway. Thanks for any and all responses.
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Well-known member
Hi Jinxstar,

Welcome to Bird Forum!:hi:

I don't have all the answers but I do have a couple of suggestions.

Personally I contribute to D.U. It is useful to me even though I don't hunt anymore. My local American Legion overlooks a lake which gets a variety of water fowl over the year and it also has a pair of Bald Eagles nesting near by. There is also a Trout Stream on our property and I still fish for Trout on occasion.

Concerning your 4th question I suggest that you check out your LOCAL Audubon society first. There should be one in the Chesapeake Bay area. My local chapter sends out a small quarterly publication with local news and activities.

For your purposes something like that may be all you need to improve your birding skills in a friendly setting.

You could also explore the local state "Patches" that are here on Bird Forum. They are underused but sometimes are useful.


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Jim M.

Choose Civility
Hi Jinxstar,

First question: All the organizations you mention are worthy of your support. But the organization that represents Maryland birders is the Maryland Ornithological Society, and your local chapter of that is the Anne Arundel Bird Club. Would highly recommend you join both. I'm also a member of the National Audubon Society, its magazine is now ad-free and is famous for its high quality photography. I believe Birdwatchers Digest is a private publication. Finally, the Google group MDbirding is a great place to report any unusual bird sightings.

Second question: one organization that provides great conservation bang for the buck is American Bird Conservancy, which I believe is based in Virginia. It is highly rated in nonprofit rankings. Duck stamps are great too.

Third question: are you talking about a paper bird list? Anything can go there. For example, if you see a rarity, you might describe what field marks you saw. But if you're not familiar with the online database eBird, you should investigate it. It's a great way to enter your sightings online and make them available to others. There is also an eBird app you can use on your smart phone.

Fourth question: are you wearing binoculars around your neck when you ask other birders what they have seen? If not, they will probably assume you are not a birder and so won't appreciate what they have been seeing (or not). Also, the usual question is to ask whether they have "seen anything good." By which is meant anything other than common birds. Asking whether they have "seen anything cool" would be unusual, since "cool" would be more subjective, and what might seem cool to one birder may not to another. But certainly, just like the population at large, some birders are antisocial, and the pandemic likely reinforces that.

Hope this helps


New member
Thanks so much for the etiquette advice and the suggestions for literature friends. Excited to get into this hobby

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