Anyone can pick up a field guide, set of binoculars and identify birds, but a truly dedicated birder has certain qualities that allow them to appreciate this hobby to its fullest. If you share these qualities of a good birder, you’re more likely to become an accomplished and expert birder while thoroughly enjoying the experience.
Wild birds are unpredictable and often do not appear at the precise moments when birders may wish them to. A good birder is patient enough to wait quietly for the right opportunity to observe birds without becoming bored, discouraged or frustrated
An even temper is essential for a good birder. Because birds are unpredictable, birders must be prepared for lengthy field trips with poor observations and no newly sighted species, even if the birds had been observed recently in the same areas. It isn’t always possible to find a new or target species, and a magnanimous birder will take those setbacks in stride.
It doesn’t take an ornithology degree to become a birder, but the best birders are educated about the birds they see. Knowing what habitats to visit and when to find the birds can make this hobby more rewarding. A birder who is familiar with the field marks of a target species will be able to identify a bird more quickly, and one who understands the basics of bird behaviour will be successful in attracting birds to the backyard for even easier observation.
A good birder must be observant in order to spot shy or unusual species. There are many bird species that look similar to one another, and an observant birder will be able to distinguish unique field markings that separate these birds. Being observant also means observing bird habitat, behaviour, songs and other details that create a richer portrait of each bird.
- Environmentally Conscious
The best birders are environmentally conscious and actively practice wildlife and bird conservation in an effort to preserve unique species and the habitats they require. This includes being a member of conservation organizations as well as practicing local conservation techniques such as recycling or establishing a bird-friendly landscape.
Good birders follow proper birding ethics to keep their interaction with birds appropriate and free from harm. This includes staying safe while birding and protecting each bird species from interference so other birders can also enjoy seeing unique birds.
Being a polite birder means following good birding etiquette guidelines when interacting with other birders or individuals in the same outdoor areas. Sharing equipment, carpooling, and being aware of others’ needs are all part of being a polite birder.
No matter what type of birder you are, with more than 10,000 bird species in the world, the best birders are enthusiastic and eager to expand their birding knowledge. Whether you are interested in local or international birding, if you can genuinely be excited about spotting a new bird or observing the quirky behaviour of a familiar species, you will be a good birder.