One of the beautiful birds that can be spied locally is the Great Blue Heron

Birds of Nakusp: what’s bird watching all about?

Gary Davidson explains why people choose bird watching as an activity.

What is this fascination so many people have with birds? Why do so many people spend so much money, time and effort observing them? Why do you watch birds? These are questions I’ve been asked more than once.

The answers to these questions are many and varied. People take up bird watching for a variety of reasons. To begin with the word watch is not really appropriate since listening insequally important. The term “birding” is more commonly used.

For some, the activity seems to be a desire for knowledge, a desire to be able to put names to things they see. Quite often these people can also put names to the trees, flowers and animals. Furthermore, learning to visually identify all the species with their sometimes subtle differences is quite a challenge. Learning to identify birds by their songs is even more challenging and can turn into a life-long pursuit.

Some birders are “listers”; continually trying to see species they haven’t seen before. They will keep a list of birds seen in B.C., birds seen in Canada, birds seen in their back yard or birds seen this year, the different lists that people keep seems to be endless. I know one birder who keeps a list of birds seen on TV!  This type of birding can at times become more like a competitive sport than a hobby.

Some people take a more scientific approach and are continually collecting data on some aspect of birding. It may be behaviour, habitat preference, causes of decline or a variety of other topics. I have met people who have devoted an entire lifetime to studying a single species and written entire books on that bird.

For some, photography becomes an integral part of the hobby. Photographing birds is not an easy thing to do. Some birds are very small, some won’t sit still, some stay hidden, some stay in the air, some only come out at night; all making this aspect of birding both difficult and frustrating.

Most birders seem to incorporate more than one of these pursuits into their birding.  Personally, I have at times, done all of these things. Since coming to the Kootenays, I have spent many years documenting the distribution and frequency of species to be found here. At the same time I continue to hone my identification skills, maintain several lists and find more and more excuses to spend money on photography equipment!


So what at first seems to be one hobby, is, in fact many different activities which can satisfy everyone from the hard core researcher to the person who pursues the hobby from the living room window watching birds at their feeder.  It is this wide appeal that makes birding the second most popular outdoor recreational activity in North America.  (The first is gardening!)



Just Posted

What’s Up: Things to see and do on Family Day

There’s plenty of fun to be had across the West Kootenay this coming long weekend!

Call a foul on cancer with the Pink Whistle Campaign

Local basketball referees are raising money for cancer research

Man found dead identified as Andreas Pittinger

Pittinger was known locally for hosting a radio show

Biologists discover another female calf in depleted South Purcell Mountain Caribou herd

Calf will be moved to Revelstoke maternity pens, then released

Man seriously hurt after police shooting near Nelson

Incident has been reported to provincial police watchdog

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read