Birding, if you haven’t heard the term yet is actually a term used interchangeably with bird watching. At times, however, birding is used to describe a method of bird watching where bird sounds are used to call and help spot birds. In Shakespearean literature, birding is synonymous with bird hunting. Now, there’s one more term that you might have encountered in this field, and that’s “twitcher”. A twitcher is someone that goes out of his way, often traveling long distances just to get a chance to see rare species of birds. Whether you are a bird watcher or twitcher, there’s one thing that’s certain, you got to love bird watching.
The history of bird watching is not as pretty as you might think. Early bird watchers like Gilbert White, George Montagu, John Clare, and many others did began observing birds for aesthetics and for scientific studies and research. However, during the Victorian Era, there was a clamor for collecting bird eggs and bird skins. This could have led to unnecessary bird hunting. For centuries, birds were shot and mounted to be studied and displayed. Eventually, humans came to their senses and calls for stricter bird protection policies became a sort of movement before the turn of the 1900s.
Today, bird watching involves the use of binoculars, photography gears, and even drawing and painting equipment. The practice is also not limited to scientists and the like who observe birds in their natural habitat to get precise documentations of different species. Bird watching has trickled down to the laymen who watch birds to have a change to get to enjoy nature, first and foremost.
Birds watching groups have made the practice even more popular. Groups will often organize a weekly trip to different spots where they can get a glimpse of different kinds of birds in their natural environment. The existence of a number bird watching guides and related publications is a sort of testimony on the popularity of this hobby.
Some other reasons why this particular hobby began to be popular is the access to the tools of the trade. When the Second World War was over, military binoculars became cheaply available to the public. As technologies progressed, so did the gear used for bird watching. From binoculars to spotting scopes and even audio equipment used for identifying bird calls and noises, some bird watchers have become gear obsessed. Photography and video equipment have become a major factor for this hobby as well. Specialized lenses that can capture birds from great distances have become a major concern.
The publication of several books on birds and bird watching instigated an interest in the hobby as well. Today, it seems bird watching remains to be a hobby preferred by only a few. Nevertheless, one study has found out that Americans for one are becoming more interested in bird watching.
There are even competitions or events on bird watching. Participants are often tasked to spot and identify as many birds as possible given a set time. The group or individual who gets the most number of properly identified birds win the contest.
However, the great outdoors is not for everyone. Some people will never appreciate the beauty of nature and the wilderness. But if you’re a nature lover, then definitely you will love birding.