[Tweeters] re: Birding outside King Co.

Mark Egger m.egger at comcast.net
Wed Jan 13 13:37:39 PST 2016

I just wanted to add some general observations about birding and other naturalist activities in rural areas, where many/most residents may be far more conservative than urban-based, progressive folks. By the way, I would include myself in the latter category. It is all too easy to see things in the news about counties in eastern Washington voting Republican in the 70-80% and come to the exact same conclusion in reverse that some of those folks make about the “Seattle liberal elite”. This is especially true right now, with the pathetic posers that have occupied the Malheur NWR. But I find it very interesting that in many parts of the West, including in Harney Co., Oregon, many of the local folks have learned to compromise and to reach reasonable solutions that allow for private property rights while also protecting wildlife, native plant communities, and land conservation in general. Many of these folks are as upset about the Bundy Bunch as we are, maybe more so!

I’ve spent most of my adult life (I’m 65), birding and/or studying native plants, very often in “cattle-country”, as well as in the southern U. S. and in remote parts of the Sierras in Mexico. While I know that I’ve been fortunate, I’ve found almost without exception that most folks living in rural areas are friendly, generous, and helpful, IF they are approached in a friendly manner, with an out-stretched hand, both literally and figuratively. Sure, I’m white-skinned and don’t have long hair (anymore). Sure, there are occasional alcohol-infused hot-heads and politically-crazed militia types, but it is my observation that the hateful ones really are the exception. And there are the same kinds of obnoxious individuals right here in Seattle! The point is, being nice really does work in almost all situations and with almost all people.

I don’t know exactly where I’m going with this, other than to add to those who have spoken out here on Tweeters against stereotyping of all kinds, and for increased understanding between urban-based birders/naturalists and those living in rural areas. While we don’t have to fully embrace their sometimes more circumscribed views of the world or discuss politics with them, we can certainly get along with them by the simple act of a friendly, courteous approach and a willingness to listen. I know from experience that most birders in our area already have this attitude, but I think it is worthy of occasional repetition.



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