bird in above photo: Irish Pintail
Sometimes when I'm out bird watching (oops I'm supposed to say birding) I find that birders can be just as interesting as the birds themselves. I know some birders that can tell me the date of their first of year oriole in 1962. There are birders that will not let a bird pass by in flight without checking it. Some will spend hours studying every bird in a flock just to pick out a rarity. Listers will travel great distances just to add a new bird to their list. So do birders take birding too seriously?
I think some non-birders would answer yes to that question. Part of the reason might be that birders stand out in the crowd with their binoculars and other equipment pointing in every direction. For example, gourmet cooking is a popular hobby for many but you don't see people walking around a park with frying pans hanging from their neck and bullet belts filled with spices.
If you take look at life from an outside point of view I think that you could say that we take a lot of things too seriously. After all, all we really need is food, shelter, etc. to stay alive but our every day lives become so much more complex than that. We do need to keep ourselves engaged and entertained though. Some people like to excel at things, compete, or just like being outdoors appreciating nature's beauty. On occasion, I have run into some birders that stress themselves about whether or not they are following proper birders protocol.That might be an example of how we could take birding too seriously but I think as long as we are enjoying ourselves then we're on the right track.