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What is birding

Birding is a shortened way of saying birdwatching, which means exactly what the name suggests.  Birdwatching is the practice of observing wild birds, which involves studying both their appearances and behaviors.   For the general public, birding is viewed as little more than a hobby, and some birders are just more enthusiastic than others.  However, for avid birders, birdwatching can be much more than “just a hobby”.  In fact, birding is the fastest growing sport in the United States.  Birding festivals dot the calendar, filling just about every weekend of the year with an event in different locations.

One of the advantages of birding is that it is educational in so many different ways.  An experienced birder can not only identify most species at the drop of a hat, but can also list information about the kinds of calls they make, the difference in plumage during different seasons, the kinds of areas they prefer, and the most common behaviors they exhibit.  In trying to gather all this knowledge, birders will develop other skills.  For example, birders often have a keen eye for the miniscule details that can identify one species from another similar one.  Some even develop their knowledge on ecosystems to better understand where certain birds can be most commonly found. While many consider birding an sport, here at the Lake Region Audubon we belief there's more to learn about birds and nature by careful observation than by a quick glance for identification.

In addition, birding can also bring with it many other pastimes.  With observation comes a need for documentation, which can be done in several different ways.  Birders may delve into photography and videography to better record their subjects, or take up painting and field sketching.  They may also turn to activities like wood-carving to attract birds or to document them in a 3-dimensional medium.  Also, birders often travel in order to see more species than just those they find in their own backyards.  The hiking that birdwatchers undertake to find their prized subjects also keeps them in shape.  Some birders will take up gardening and landscaping to provide an ideal habitat for the birds they watch.

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