The best thing about travel (aside from getting away from the daily grind) is that it allows you to try new things. Sometimes you discover delicious foods you’ve never had before. Sometimes you fall in love with a tiny town or try a new adventure. Occasionally, you discover that something is just not for you. Like birding.
Don’t get me wrong – we like animals, including birds. Sometimes. But to be a true, diehard birdwatcher (or birder, as they call themselves), you have to be willing to go to extremes. Or be very patient. And we are neither.
Here are seven signs that (like us) you may not be a birder.
You like to get where you are going
When you calculate how long it takes to get somewhere, you generally leave about that much time to go from Point A to Point B. You do not plan to stop frequently or detour (maybe for long periods of time) if you happen to see a new or unusual bird. When others begin to yell and practically jump from a moving vehicle to watch a bird, you find it disconcerting. Because, hey, there are lots of birds. Everywhere.
You and early mornings do not get along
Getting up to enjoy the quiet of the morning may sound like a good idea, in theory. But when it comes down to it, there are very few valid reasons get up before the sun. The only things that would cause you to wake up by 4:30am are a flight at the crack of dawn or a house fire.
You are not incredibly fit
Being a dedicated birder means you have to go where the birds are. And while you might dream of being in shape while you sit on your cushy couch, being on the hunt for a small feathered friend can often require acrobatics. Balancing on logs to cross a river flowing with white water and hiking up absurdly steep hills are both totally doable, right?
You are not that patient
Your daily life includes doing at least three things simultaneously, one of which involves a smartphone. Being a good birder requires a desire to stare at bushes/trees/grass for a seemingly endless amount of time. If waiting for hours for something to arrive, flap once, and be gone is not your idea of a great time, it might be time to investigate another hobby.
Extreme weather is not your friend
Birders will put up with just about anything to cross another species off their list. And while it can be interesting to watch the colors of the sky during a thunderstorm, you’d rather do it inside from the comfort of your living room. Being outside in it is another matter entirely. Not to mention that rains leads to mud and flooding (see white water, above).
Your mind is full of too many things already
Was it a Yellow-breasted Bunting or a Lilac-breasted Roller? Who the hell knows?
You just like other animals more
You could pet a fluffy cat all day or play fetch with a dog for hours. Going on safari to watch the big animals of the bush is a dream come true. I mean, have you seen an elephant up close in the wild? Heck, birds are even OK if you happen to stumble upon them while doing something else. But baby fur seals, they are not.
So what do you think – to bird or not to bird?