Monday, March 12, 2007

Low-Tech Birding in High-Tech Times

A recent intriguing article on high-tech birding that was originally published in the Wall Street Journal (of all places) has peaked my interest.

With 45 million Americans willing to shell out $6 billion annually (according to figures from 2001) on bird-related items, it’s not too surprising that the financial wizards on Wall Street would be trying to convince middle- and upper-class Americans that they need the latest technological gadgets to optimize their birding experiences.

At the risk of exposing myself as a total Luddite, this is my public confession that I am a very, very low-tech birder. When I go in search of birds, I like to travel light. I take with me a pair of binoculars, a field guide or two, pen or pencil, and a notebook (the paper kind). I’ve also been known to use printed checklists occasionally, and printed maps if I’m in unfamiliar territory.

I do not use any of the following technologies for birding, nor do I have an interest in running out and buying any of these electronic marvels anytime soon:
  • birdjam
  • Blackberry devices
  • CD players
  • cell phones
  • digiscoping gear
  • digital audio players
  • digital cameras
  • electronic bird finders
  • GPS units
  • Handheld Birds
  • iPods
  • laptop or notebook computers
  • laser pointers
  • listing software
  • MP3 players (.pdf)
  • Palm devices
  • parabolic microphones
  • PDAs
  • phonescoping gear
  • recreational vechicles
  • tape recorders
  • video cameras
  • This topic has also been discussed at 10,000 birds, Birdchick Blog, CrunchGear, Eureka Nature, and Sportsmans Blog, among others.


    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    That's really sad that you don't have a laser pointer. You can slow down those warblers by shining it in their eyes.

    It works great. Get the green laser. It works best.

    March 14, 2007 7:45 PM  
    Blogger Voluble said...

    It's wrong to draw out birds with recorded or mimicked birdsongs, because it expends their precious energies on a lost cause. It could even mean the difference between life and death for a bird with low energy stores (e.g., recently migrated across the Gulf of Mexico).

    Shame on those ignorant birders!

    May 09, 2008 7:53 PM  

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