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Encyclopedia > Birdwatching

Birdwatching or birding is the observation and study of birds. Most birders or birdwatchers pursue this activity for recreational or social reasons, unlike ornithologists, who are engaged in the formal scientific study of birds. Ornithologists can, however, study birds using the same methods as birders. Image File history File links Information_icon. ... Orders Many - see section below. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Part of a scientific laboratory at the University of Cologne. ...

Birders at J "Ding" Darling reserve, Sanibel, Florida.
Birders at J "Ding" Darling reserve, Sanibel, Florida.


J Ding Darling reserve public domain from USFWS File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Official seal of the city of Sanibel Sanibel is a city located in Lee County, Florida. ...


The most active times of the year for birding in the temperate zones are during spring and fall migration when the greatest variety of birds may be seen. These birds are travelling north or south to wintering or nesting locations. In geography, temperate latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. ... Flock of Barnacle Geese during autumn migration Many species of birds undertake seasonal journeys of various lengths, a phenomenon known as Bird migration. ...

Early morning is typically the best time of the day for birding since many birds are active searching for food, and thus are easier to find and observe. Success in locating the more interesting species typically requires detailed knowledge of their appearance, sounds, behavior, and most likely habitat, in addition to stealth and patience.

Birding can be one of the quieter and more relaxing outdoor activities. However, birders who are keen rarity-seekers will travel long distances to see a new species to add to the list of birds they have personally observed (life list, national list, state list, county list, year list, etc.).

Seawatching is a type of birdwatching where observers based at a coastal watchpoint (such as a headland) watch birds flying over the sea. Seawatching is a type of birdwatching where participants observe birds at sea. ...

Many birders take part in censuses of bird populations and their migratory patterns which are sometimes specific to individual species, and sometimes count all the birds in a given area (as in a Christmas Bird Count). This citizen science can assist in identifying environmental threats to the well-being of birds or, conversely, in assessing the outcomes of environmental management initiatives intended to ensure the survival of at-risk species or encourage the breeding of species for aesthetic or ecological reasons. This more scientific side of the hobby is an aspect of ornithology, co-ordinated in the UK by the British Trust for Ornithology. The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is a census of birds in the Western Hemisphere, performed annually in the early Northern-hemisphere winter by volunteer birdwatchers. ... The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is an organisation founded in 1932 for the study of birds in Britain. ...

Increasing (seasonal) bird populations can be a good indicator of biodiversity or the quality of different habitats. Some species may be persecuted as vermin, often illegally (e.g. the Hen Harrier in Britain), under the (usually false) perception that predatory species increase in number at the expense of other species of birds, insects, or smaller mammals. In most cases, the reverse applies: the population of predatory species is controlled by the abundance of the prey species. Bird counts in defined geographic areas can therefore be useful from a scientific perspective. Rainforests are among the most biodiverse ecosystems on earth Biodiversity or biological diversity is the diversity of life. ... Binomial name Circus cyaneus (Linnaeus, 1766) The Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus) is a bird of prey of the harrier family. ...

Rarity watching

"Twitching" is a British term used to mean "the pursuit of a previously-located rare bird." In North America it is more often called "chasing", though the British usage is starting to catch on in North America, especially among younger birders. The British term is said to come from the frenzy that descends on some when they receive news of a rare bird. The term may derive from one of its first proponents, who used to arrive on his motorbike in freezing weather in the early 1960s, still "twitching" from the cold. The end goal of twitching is often to accumulate species on one's lists. Some birders engage in competition with one another to accumulate the biggest species lists. The act of the pursuit itself is referred to as a "twitch" or a "chase". A rare bird that stays put long enough for people to see it is called "twitchable" or "chaseable".

Twitching is probably most highly developed in the United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Ireland because their small sizes make it possible to travel within their borders quickly with relative ease. The most popular twitches in the UK have drawn crowds of up to 5,000 people at any one time (Golden-Winged Warbler in Kent). Twitching is also highly popular in Finland and Sweden. In the United Kingdom there exists a particular twitchers' vocabulary which is surprisingly well-developed and potentially confusing for the uninitiated. In the UK for example, "dipping" is the act of missing the rare bird you tried to see, "gripped off" is how you feel if other twitchers see the bird but you didn't, "supression" is the act of concealing news of a rare bird from twitchers, and a "dude" is someone who doesn't know much about rare birds. Similar vocabularies have developed in all countries where twitching is popular. Twitchers often have mobile phones and (especially in Europe) pagers to keep constantly informed of rare bird sightings and weather. The latter is important, since the right winds can lead to drift migration from the east or "Yankees" caught up in the tail end of hurricanes from the west. Motto: Je Maintiendrai (Dutch: Ik zal handhaven, English: I Shall Uphold) Anthem: Wilhelmus van Nassouwe Capital Amsterdam1 Largest city Amsterdam Official language(s) Dutch2 Government Parliamentary democracy Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Beatrix  - Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende Independence Eighty Years War   - Declared July 26, 1581   - Recognised January 30, 1648 (by Spain... Some birdwatchers are keen rarity seekers and will travel long distances to see a new species to add to one of their lists, e. ... A pager is an electronic device used to contact people via a paging network. ... Drift migration is the phenomenon in which migrating birds are blown off course by the winds at the time they are in flight. ...

Birding competitions

A North American one-day birding competition is called a "Big Day"; in Britain it is called a "Bird Race". Teams trying to win such competitions usually have twenty-four hours in a designated geographical area to do so. They commonly drive hundreds of kilometers. Some record-chasers have employed private jets and helicopters in the enterprise.

The most popular birding competitions in the United States are the one-day World Series of Birding which is held in New Jersey in May and the five-day Great Texas Birding Classic held in April.


Equipment commonly used for birding includes binoculars and a telescope or spotting scope with tripod, a notepad, and one or more field guides. Porro-prism binoculars with central focusing Binocular telescopes, or binoculars, (also known as field glasses) are two identical or mirror-symmetrical telescopes mounted side-by-side and aligned to point accurately in the same direction, one to be viewed through each of the users eyes to present the viewer... 50 cm refracting telescope at Nice Observatory. ... A spotting scope is a portable telescope, optimized for the observation of terrestrial objects. ... Look up tripod in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A field guide is a book designed to help the reader identify wildlife (plants or animals) or other objects of natural occurrence (e. ...


Photography has always been a part of birding, but in the past the cost of good cameras and long lenses made this a minority, often semi-professional, interest. The advent of affordable digital cameras, which can be used in conjunction with binoculars or a telescope (a technique known as digiscoping), have made this a much more widespread aspect of the hobby. Photography is the process of making pictures by means of the action of capturing light on a film. ... A SiPix digital camera next to a matchbox to show scale A Hasselblad 503CW with a digital camera back A digital camera is an electronic device used to capture and store photographs electronically instead of using photographic film like conventional cameras. ... Moon through telescopes eyepiece and digital cameras zoom objective Digiscoping is a method of obtaining photos using a digital camera through a telescope or, less often, binoculars. ...

Birding organizations

Prominent national organizations concerned with birding include the B.T.O. and RSPB in the United Kingdom (over 1 million members), and the National Audubon Society and American Birding Association in the United States. Many statewide or local Audubon organizations are also quite active in the U.S. BirdLife International is an important global alliance of bird conservation organisations. The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is an organisation founded in 1932 for the study of birds in Britain. ... The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is Europes largest wildlife conservation charity. ... Headquarter of National Audubon Society in New York. ... The American Birding Association (ABA) is a non_profit organization of people interested in birding. ... BirdLife International is the international conservation organization working to protect the world’s birds and their habitats. ...

Socio-psychology of birdwatching

It has been suggested that birdwatching is a form of expression of the innate need for human connection to the environment. Ethologist Nikolaas Tinbergen considered birdwatching an expression of the male hunting instinct. Indeed, most birders (especially those below middle-age) are male[citation needed]; however, one of the top world listers was a woman, Phoebe Snetsinger. The idea of birding as a completely male-oriented activity is not accurate, though twitching in the UK is heavily male dominated. Ethology is the scientific study of animal behavior considered as a branch of zoology. ... Nikolaas Niko Tinbergen (April 15, 1907 – December 21, 1988) was a Dutch ethologist and ornithologist who shared the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Karl von Frisch and Konrad Lorenz for their discoveries concerning organization and elicitation of individual and social behaviour patterns in animals. ... Phoebe Snetsinger, nee Burnett (1931, Lake Zurich, Illinois, USA - November 23, 1999, Madagascar), a resident of Webster Groves, Missouri, was the most prolific birder in history, having seen over 8,500 species of birds by the time of her death. ...

Another intriguing connection has been that of the interest in birds by spies. There have been several cases of spies who were serious ornithologists such as Sidney Dillon Ripley, St. John Philby and Richard Meinertzhagen. Sidney Dillon Ripley (20 September 1913 - 12 March, 2001 ) was an ornithologist. ... Harry St. ... Richard Henry Meinertzhagen (March 3, 1878 - June 17, 1967) was a British soldier and intelligence officer with an interest in birds, bird lice and Zionism. ...

Birding vs. birdwatching

In both Britain and the U.S., birders often differentiate themselves from birdwatchers. At the most basic level, the (possibly elitist) distinction is one of dedication or intensity. Generally, self-described birders are more versed in minutiae such as molt, distribution, migration timing, and habitat usage. Whereas dedicated birders may travel widely, bird watchers have a more limited scope, perhaps to their own gardens[1][2].

Famous birders/ornithologists

Famous for birding/ornithology

Kenn Kaufman is an American author, artist, ornithologist, naturalist, and conservationist, known for his work on several popular field guides of birds and butterflies in North America. ... Theodore A. Ted Parker III (April 1, 1953 – August 3, 1993) was an American ornithologist who specialized in the Neotropics. ... Roger Tory Peterson (August 28, 1908 – July 28, 1996), a naturalist, ornithologist, artist, and educator, is held to be one of the founding inspirations for the 20th century environmental movement. ... Jon Dunn (born December 12, 1981) is an American football offensive tackle. ... Phoebe Snetsinger, nee Burnett (1931, Lake Zurich, Illinois, USA - November 23, 1999, Madagascar), a resident of Webster Groves, Missouri, was the most prolific birder in history, having seen over 8,500 species of birds by the time of her death. ... David Allen Sibley (born 1962, New York) is an American ornithologist. ... John James Audubon John James Audubon[1] (April 26, 1785 – January 27, 1851) was a Franco-American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. ... Salim Ali may refer to: Salim Ali, (1896-1987) Indian ornithologist Salim Ali, an alias of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, reported military head of Al Qaeda This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... K.K.Neelakantan (1923-June 14, 1992) better known by his pen name Induchoodan, was a leading Indian ornithologist. ...

Otherwise famous

This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Lord Alanbrooke as shown on his book of memoirs Field Marshal Sir Alan Francis Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke, KG, GCB, OM, GCVO, DSO (July 23, 1883 - June 17, 1963) was a career soldier, Chief of the Imperial General Staff during the Second World War and promoted Field Marshal in 1944. ... Kenneth Harry Clarke, QC, MP, (born 2 July 1940) is a leading Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom. ... A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters to a parliament. ... Ian Fleming Ian Lancaster Fleming (May 28, 1908 – August 12, 1964) was an English author and journalist, best remembered for writing the James Bond series of novels as well as the childrens story, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. ... James Bond (January 4, 1900 – February 14, 1989) was a leading American ornithologist whose name was appropriated by writer Ian Fleming for his fictional spy James Bond. ... Billy Fury (April 17, 1940 – January 28, 1983) was an English pop singer and songwriter of the 1950s to 1980s from Wavertree, Liverpool. ... Trevor Harrison (born Stourbridge, England, 1957-03-16) is an actor best known for his role as Eddie Grundy in the BBC Radio 4 soap opera, The Archers. ... Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado (Hisako) of Japan, (jp: Takamado no miya Hisako shinnō-hi), née Ms. ... John Eric Bartholomew OBE (May 14, 1926 – May 28, 1984), better known by his stage name, Eric Morecambe was a British comedian who together with Ernie Wise, formed the double act Morecambe and Wise. ... Bill Oddie William Edgar (Bill) Oddie, OBE (born July 7, 1941 in Rochdale, Greater Manchester) is a comedy writer and performer, author, composer and musician. ... James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, PC (11 March 1916 – 24 May 1995) was one of the most prominent British politicians of the 20th century. ... The Prime Minister is in practice the most important political office in the United Kingdom. ... James Earl Jimmy Carter, Jr. ... Charley Harper (1922-)[1] is a Cincinnati, Ohio artist, best known for his highly stylized wildlife prints, posters and book illustrations. ... Iolo Tudur Williams (born 1962, in Builth Wells) is a Welsh nature observer and televison presenter, best known for his BBC and S4C nature shows. ... Sir Kenneth James Dover, FRSE, FBA (born March 11, 1920) is a distinguished British academic who is currently Chancellor of the University of St Andrews. ... Classicism, in the arts, refers generally to a high regard for classical antiquity as setting standards for taste which the classicist seeks to emulate. ... James Jim Roderick Moir, more commonly known by the pseudonym Vic Reeves, (born January 24, 1959) is an English comedian, best known through his double act with Bob Mortimer (see Vic and Bob). ... Robert Bob Renwick Mortimer (born May 23, 1959 in Middlesbrough, England), is an English comedian and actor who is best known for his double act with Vic Reeves (see Vic and Bob). ...

Birders in fiction

The Aubrey–Maturin series, also known as the Aubreyad, is a sequence of 20 historical novels by Patrick OBrian, set during the Napoleonic Wars and centering on the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey of the Royal Navy and his ships surgeon Stephen Maturin, who is also a... Patrick OBrian (December 12, 1914 – January 2, 2000; original name Richard Patrick Russ) was a novelist and translator, best known for his Aubrey–Maturin series of novels set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars and centered on the friendship of Captain Jack Aubrey and an Irish–Catalan... The Aubrey–Maturin series, also known as the Aubreyad, is a sequence of 20 historical novels by Patrick OBrian, set during the Napoleonic Wars and centering on the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey of the Royal Navy and his ships surgeon Stephen Maturin, who is also a physician...

See also

A Big Year is an informal competition among North American birders to see who can see or hear the largest number of species of birds within a single calendar year and within a specific geographical area. ... Birdfeeding is the activity of feeding (and usually observing) wild birds. ... The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is an organisation founded in 1932 for the study of birds in Britain. ... The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is Europes largest wildlife conservation charity. ... The following is a list of journals and magazines relating to birding and ornithology European magazines and journals Alula Birding World Birdwatch British Birds Bulletin of the British Ornithological Club Dutch Birding Ibis Irish Birds North American magazines and journals Auk, The Birding Condor Wilson Bulletin, The Magazines and journals... The following is a list of avifaunas for countries and regions of the world, including authoritative field guides. ... The literature relating to birding is vast, however certain books or series are regarded by the birding community as key milestones, setting standards of quality and influencing the development of birding literature, or birding itself. ... Birds & Blooms is an American magazine about backyard plants, birds, butterflies, and other creatures. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...

External links


  1. ^ Dunne, Pete (2003). Pete Dunne on Bird Watching. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-90686-5.
  2. ^ Oddie, Bill (1980). Bill Oddie's Little Black Bird Book. Frome & London: Butler & Tanner Ltd.. ISBN 0-413-47820-3.

  Results from FactBites:
Birdwatching - definition of Birdwatching in Encyclopedia (716 words)
Birding or birdwatching is a hobby concerned with the observation and study of birds (the study proper is termed ornithology).
The term "birding" is of American origin; "birdwatching" is (or more correctly, was) the commonly-used word in Great Britain and Ireland and by non-birders in the United States.
Since visual observation is routinely complemented with auditory observation, the term "birding" is more accurate, and is growing in usage, particularly among devotees of the hobby.
  More results at FactBites »



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