What makes you a good birder? Simply the fact that you enjoy watching birds! According to Kenn Kaufman, “Birding is something that we do for enjoyment; so if you enjoy it, you’re a good birder. If you enjoy it a lot, you’re a great birder.”
I can’t emphasize this enough. I think that there are many people in our communities that would love to expand their birding experiences beyond their own backyards, but they are afraid to go out on a group bird walk with “experienced birders.” Afraid they will look foolish (not likely with a group of folks in wide brimmed hats and binoculars hanging around their necks) due to lack of bird knowledge. Afraid they might not have the right equipment. Maybe simply afraid of meeting new people.
We as birders need to be bird advocates. The more bird advocates we have on the planet, the more bird conservation, and as an extension, the more nature conservation we will promote.
I want all my readers to go read Laura Kammermeier’s post on “Who Are The Next “Great” Birders?” over at Birds, Words & Websites. Laura suggests that we all become ambassadors for birds and she gives us a bullet point list for ways we can achieve this goal.
This is so important if we want to advance our cause and enhance our organizations. It is also important for the conservation of our environment.
I am one of the lucky ones. I began birding in my own backyard and joined the local Audubon Society where I found many excellent birders, all willing to share their knowledge and expertise with a “newbie.” Thrilled for me as much as I was thrilled when I got a new “lifer.”
Now I enjoy having my friends and coworkers ask me questions about birds they see in their yards or out in the wild, and I get just as excited when they see a new bird.
We all enjoy birding and that is what makes us good birders.