My high school graduating class (class of ’64) is celebrating its very first class reunion later this summer, on the 43rd anniversary of our graduation. In anticipation of that event, I recently emailed the following thoughts to my fellow class members:
As the class reunion nears, I can’t help but think back to 1964 and marvel at how we managed to survive without access to such modern conveniences as air conditioners; ATM machines; Ben & Jerry's ice cream; bottled water; cable television; CD, DVD, MP3, and VHS players; cell phones; cup holders; digital calculators and cameras; email; Google; indoor shopping malls; "the Internets;" microwave ovens; personal computers; photocopy machines; plastic bottles and bags of all kinds; pull-tab beverage cans; seat belts; text messaging; and voice mail, to name just a few. We must have been a hardy and enterprising lot, some might say deprived. Times certainly have changed!
That set me to thinking about things in the world of birds and birding that we now take for granted that did not exist in 1964:
American Bird Association; bird identification videos in DVD and VHS formats; bird monitoring schemes like the Breeding Bird Survey, eBird, FeederWatch, hawk migration counts, and MAPS; bird tour companies; birding festivals (other than Hinckley, Ohio’s, vulture festival); birdfinding guides; birding listservs; camcorders; Endangered Species Act; field guides by the likes of Brinkley (NWF), Dunn (NGS), Griggs (ABC), Kaufmann, Robbins, Sibley, and Stokes; International Migratory Bird Day; listing software; major journals like Journal of Raptor Research, Pacific Seabirds, Western Birds, and Waterbirds; popular magazines like Bird Watcher’s Digest, Birder’s World, Birding, and Wild Bird; rare bird alerts; sound recordings in CD formats; terms like bins, birder, twitcher, and pishing; webcams; and the World Series of Birding.
My, what a long way we have come in the past 43 years!