Bird Watching Or Birding?

Posted on Sabtu, 21 Agustus 2010 |
Bird watching is a hobby which involves watching and tracking birds for pleasure or fun. The official term for this hobby is ornithology, although it is more commonly known as bird watching, or birding, depending on your location. However, I am lead to believe that there is more to this distinction than just geography.

The use of the shortened term birding was most commonly used originally in America, whereas in the UK it was referred to as bird watching. But in the UK a third term is also widely recognised to distinguish someone as a person who watches birds and that is twitching. However, there are now three different definitions widely accepted for the three different terms, those being that birding refers to someone who watches wild birds for pleasure, bird watching is for those amateurs who study birds but who do so for their own purposes and who are not professionals in the field, and that twitching is undertaken to compile a long list of all the wild birds which have ever been seen in a particular geographic location. For those among you who participate in this hobby, you should now be able to work out which specific type of bird watcher you are!

Typically speaking, the hobby of bird watching has not had a very good press. Often seen to be the hobby of the geek, it is little known that there are actually some celebrity fans who don their binoculars to look at birds of the feathered variety. Former US president Jimmy Carter enjoyed relaxing with nature while bird watching, as did former UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson. It is also a little known fact that Ian Fleming’s most famous creation, James Bond, was named after a famous ornithologist of the same name. Suddenly the hobby seems much cooler…..!

Amateur bird watchers have also been responsible for some impressive finds over the years. The spotting of a rare species has been known to cause many professionals to descend on an area and conservational work has been undertaken as a result of the discoveries.

Bird watching is incredibly popular and it is a great way for people to get out and explore nature first hand. The best time of day for bird watching is thought to be for the first few hours after the sun rises as it is when the birds are at their most hungry and so are more visible and slightly less wary. Bird watchers often situate themselves in a hide, which is usually an enclosed hut with small spaces to view outside, so they have a good view of the surrounding area but they are largely hidden from the birds, preventing them from scaring them off.

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