[Tweeters] Serious Birders

SGMlod at aol.com SGMlod at aol.com
Fri Dec 24 21:22:41 PST 2004


Sorry for the attempt at humor, for this is a serious topic. Yes, Hal, one 
doesn't have to be a lister to be a knowledgeable birder.

But I doubt there are 1.8 million people in the state who'd identify 
themselves as birders. I bet every angler (aka, fisherman) in the survey would call 
themselves a fisherman/angler. I've spent day after day in the field, at good 
spots in the Puget Trough, without seeing a single another person with 
binoculars. I see far more people with fishing rods, and during hunting season, with 
guns. Where are these 1.8 million birders, Garfield County? 

The question that led to folks being identified as birdwatchers by the survey 
(and again, I question how "serious" was determined) was something to the 
effect of, "Have you ever stopped to look at a bird?" 

And again, I just appeal to one's common sense. If there are 1.8 million of 
us, where are we all? Especially if we apply the adjective "serious." The 1.8 
million are not on Tweeters. Not part of WOS. Not part of the ABA. Invisible in 
practical terms. I guess you could label everyone with a bird feeder or who 
has looked at an eagle out there window "a birder," but that would not be 
comparable to those who identify themselves as hunters or fisherman. We need to 
compare apples to apples. 

If we want to throw our weight around, which I believe in, we need to start 
with realistic numbers. 

By the way, about 6 months or so ago, Dennis Paulson wrote a superb letter to 
the editor in Birding on just this topic. 

Realistically Yours
Steven Mlodinow
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