Monday, February 19, 2024

Most Birders Are Kind And Helpful But..

Birders learn about birding at their own pace. Some learn quickly and are experts in no time. Others take years to graduate from identifying birds at the feeders to identifying a few warblers and never reach the level of expert. I fell somewhere in between. I learned a lot quickly but never ascended to that expert level. I still make mistakes and second-guess identifications. There are still certain categories of birds I have difficulty with. 

The top photo is a female and male Gadwall. That was one of those duck species I wasn't confident with early on. The markings are subtle compared to some other ducks. The male is showing a silvery-gray color with a black patch near the tail here. The female which looks kind of like a Mallard is showing that patch of white but this is in good lighting. Sometimes they might be far away with poor viewing conditions and then they wouldn't be easy to identify.
 Birding is fun but some birders take it very seriously. There is something called a birder's code of ethics. It's basic things like don't destroy bird habitat, don't overuse bird song playback to attract birds (especially during nesting season), and don't give false reports about seeing rare birds etc. There are many variations of the birding code of ethics. Here is one of the more well known ones: ABA Code Of Birding Ethics.

Some birders might shame someone for breaking one of the rules in the code of ethics, or be hypercritical when someone misidentifies a bird. They forget that one of the most important rules in the code of ethics is to always be kind and helpful to other people who share an interest in birds. This is especially true when it comes to new birders. The last thing you want to do is to say something that will discourage or embarrass them! Give them a break! Fortunately, the majority of birders go out of their way to be kind and helpful when it comes to sharing their knowledge with others.

1 comment:

Val Ewing said...

That is true with so many things. Harsh criticism never helps a person learn but kindness and guidance does.

I do enjoy looking for all sorts of birds in the spring and again in the fall and I enjoy your birding photos and how you find them.