What does a birder look like?

  • 2004


  • 2017



I remember when I first started watching birds.  Like many, I thought this birdwatching hobby was something "old" people did.  My family used to tease me about liking things my elders enjoyed:  pinochle (when I was young), oldies music, lighthouses, and bingo, to name a few. Yes, there are a lot of retired folks, who are older, that love the birds and love to seek them out. I felt young amongst the members of the first local Audubon chapter that I joined.  As the years have gone by, I've come to realize that birdwatching is a hobby I share with millions of men and women of all ages and even children and animals (dogs and cats love to watch birds too).

My Little Birdwatchers

Some fall off their chairs when they find out birding and photographing birds is my hobby.  Some think I'm joking and laugh, but that doesn't offend me.   I laugh with them.   Why would I get offended anyhow?   I'll share my photos with those who are surprised, and they usually take a step back and are amazed like I am at all the beautiful birds right here in the United States.  I'm proud to have this hobby and I love to share all that I have seen and all that I still want to find.  Maybe I don't look like the stereotypical birdwatcher.   So what does a birder look like?  Does he wear a vest full of pockets?  Does she wear a brimmed hat?  Does he walk with a cane?  Does he resemble Brad, Kenny or Stu (played by Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin) in the movie The Big Year?  Does she have gray or white hair?  Does she wear glasses?  The answer to all of these questions is YES and more.  We are old, young, male, female, children, students, teachers, scientists, photographers, and everything in between.  In the grand scheme of things, we are all birdwatchers at some level.

When I share my hobby and photos with my non-birding family, friends, and co-workers, 9 times of out of 10 they come to me either with a photo or a description of a bird they saw and ask me to identify it.  I give them my best guess.  No expert here, remember?  But what I love the most is that those people have become more aware of the birds around them (and nature in general) and find joy in sharing it with me. 

Here is a small dose of the photos that have been sent to me by my non-birding friends over the years.  Do you see one here that you sent me?

Please, friends, keep them coming.  I love receiving all your photos! 

So, what does a birder look like?              You and me.

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  • Octavia Marquess

    on February 24, 2020

    I LOVE your beautiful pictures! Thank you so much for sharing part of your world with us! Xoxo