14th November 2012.
I always thought Twitchers were a born breed, a bit odd, now I am one of them, sort of. I came to bird watching late in life. Living in the Amazon Rainforest for any length of time you become a twitcher by default. Rare and unusual birds fall into your lap, or more likely, perch on a nearby tree daily.
I was told by Amazon rainforest guides that twitchers come complete with camouflage gear, heavy boots, expensive equipment and long lists of birds. I came to the task with pink or blue floral pyjamas, flip flops, and a little digital camera. And, I wouldn’t dream of having a list. Whatever I see is a blessing. I don’t creep up on the birds either. Instead I talk to them softly and greet them with delight.
In this way I have actually befriended birds. Saffron finches visited daily, as did Silver-beaked Tanagers, Anis, Yellow-Rumped Caciques and one of my favourites, a gorgeous Aracari. A Striated Heron, several Ringed Kingfishers and Wattle-necked Vultures shared the harbour side with me.
The pleasure I get from bird watching is to see the interaction between the birds, and between them and their environment. My guide friends tells me that once the twitchers have ticked off the bird and photographed it, they immediately want to go on to the next bird on their list. Not all of them, of course, but the guides found it difficult to understand what actual pleasure some got from the encounter. The habitat, habits, and characteristics of the bird held little interest for them.
Just read Bill Oddies new blog…with similar views. http://t.co/8Zo0ScsS ..Real Birdwatching
I sometimes wonder how many people who call themselves birdwatchers actually “watch“ the birds they see. They “tick them off”, yes, but do they really study their behaviour, their displays, their breeding routines, or indeed their feeding habits? The truth is that there are hundreds – no, millions – of people who would not call themselves real birdwatchers but who probably know more about the habits of some species than many of the so called experts. There are few better places to study bird behaviour than in your garden or backyard. Most people who put up feeders and nest boxes would admit that they also spend ages gazing out of the window. They see the tits, finches, robins and so on, and they become involved in their daily and yearly lives. Well, “that’s“ what I call bird watching!
14th November 2012.