Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Birders as Voyeurs

Let’s face it. Birders like to watch! For good reason were birders once called bird watchers, because that’s exactly what they do. They like to watch birds in all aspects of their lives, such as when they’re courting, when they’re mating, when they’re attending to their nest, when they’re laying, incubating, and hatching their eggs, when they’re feeding their young, when they’re engaged in comfort behaviors such as bathing and preening, even when they’re asleep. Not a moment of a bird’s life is free from the prying eyes of birders; ever wonder if they might "resent" it? In some quarters, this obsessively voyeuristic tendency to delve into the secret lives of birds has earned birders an undeservedly fowl reputation (don't get too upset folks, it's just a spoof).

We census, count, monitor, report and track ("any place, any time!")study, and survey birds, we photograph them, we leg-band, color-band, neck-collar, and radio-tag them to track their daily movements, we use radar to track their seasonal migrations, and we erect surveillance cameras to watch and record their most intimate behaviors. We go so far as to listen in on their private conversations, even to the extent of recording, storing, and analyzing their songs and calls.

Birders seem to be especially fascinated with the sex lives of birds. Even the award-winning nature-writing team of Kit and George Harrison has considered it necessary to popularize the subject of bird sex.

Yes, birding can be addictive. So please remember one thing. The next time YOU get an uncontrollable impulse to spy or eavesdrop on your bird neighbors, be sure to follow the code of birding ethics.


Blogger Juliabohemian said...

funny...if we were doing those things to PEOPLE we would go to jail. Or at the very least need therapy.

May 09, 2006 2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still call myself a birdwatcher.. isn't so much something I do, but an integral part of who I am. I've been intrigued and fascinated by them since childhood.
Great blog! Glad I discovered it, will add it to my sidebar. Enjoyed your most beautiful birds meme :)

May 09, 2006 10:29 PM  

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