For those people that Love The Birds, they will be well aware that birding is completely different to how it is portrayed on the television or in movies. Rather than being sat inside of a windowless box looking at pictures of birds, you are out there in the wild, stalking the birds. As a result, birding is highly dependent on the geography of the area, the weather, and even the time of day. Misjudge any of these things and your chance to see the prothonotary warbler is gone – there will not be a showing later on, that is it!
What the movies does capture with birding is the voyeuristic nature and that it almost cannot be done without the use of technology. For instance, to be able to see the smallest of birds in the distance, binoculars must be used. To go and find birds out in the wild, birders must use motorboats, automobiles, trains, planes, plus many more modes of transport. Whilst the movies do not distinguish between birding and bird watching, within the world there is actually a big difference.
For those people that are not engrossed within this world, it may seem like something of a pedantic distinction, but there is a difference – even if the two do bleed into one another. For instance, bird watchers simply look at birds, whereas birding involves the active pursuit of birds – birders go out looking for them. In fact, for some birders, they do not even have to see the bird, simply hearing them is enough to say that they have ‘seen’ them.
There are lots of people in America that are bird watchers – official estimates put it at somewhere around forty eight million. However, not all of these are birders, as this requires much more devotion, money, and time. It is because of this devotion / passion that birders appear on television or in the movies rather than humble bird watchers – their pursuits are a little more sedate and do not necessarily make for good entertainment.
Birders are so passionate about what they do in fact, an element of competition has been added to the pastime. The first competitive inter country birding events took place back in the 1970s. Due to the effect that it has on some competitors, it has been referred to by somee as competitive meditation.
However, the approach that us humans take to the natural world around us has never been a simple one. For example, some people keep boastful counts of all the birds that they have slaughtered, and then pose them in positions that are extremely life like or even reanimate them in drawings or paintings.
Birders actually reveal a huge deal about human psychopathology – in particular, man’s tormented relationship with the natural world around us. This is the same world that produced us, yet we are so estranged from it. Although there is a need to control nature, by controlling it too much, we end up wounding ourselves.