In more modern usage, this is a term for someone who watches birds - a "bird watcher". The minimal accoutrements of the birder are pencil, paper and a sharp eye/ear, but most birders will have some kind of binoculars and a field guide. Often, birders will also carry a telescope and the keen birder (or twitcher - not necessarily the same thing) may also have such additional items as a pager.

Why do birders bird?

  • Listing is a definite element of birding for most people. The maintenance of a list of species seen can bring back many happy memories. Listing can degenerate into twitching. Lists tend to built on time or location order.

    For example, most birders keep a life list - all species seen - and many birders keep a trip list - a list of the birds seen on a given birding journey, whether this is a day out or a long international holiday. Some birders will also keep a year list.

    Another common list is a patch list - the patch being a local area which is birded on a regular basis, such as a local reservoir or nature reserve. This can be scaled up to county or state lists, and country/continent lists. Of course, the world and life list end up the same.

  • Science can be a satisfying part of birding. Records of birds seen in a given area can build up over time to create a valuable picture of the wildlife. In addition, some birders move on to ringing.

  • As a Hobby, birding has much to offer. It offers an opportunity to spend time in the countryside, and can serve as an envouragement to visit new places. Record keeping can while away the hours at home. In addition, "difficult" birds mean that the ability to identify species requires practice and that years of experience can make birding a more satisfying experience.

Bird"er (?), n.

A birdcatcher.


© Webster 1913.

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