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Birding and Birdwatching Facts

Updated on October 22, 2015

Birdwatching or Birding

Birder is the correct term to use to refer to a person observing birds, whether they are professionals or amateurs.

Birding is the term used to describe the hobby or sport of birdwatching.

Twitching is the term used to refer to a person who actively seeks out rare or endangered species of birds. Very often an expensive endeavor as it usually involves a substantial amount of traveling.

Birdwatching is a term that is not really in use amongst the serious birdwatchers, and may even refer to a person watching young ladies, rather then actual birds.

Birding Hide


Birding Equipment

Birding is the observation, study and recording of birds activities. This is done visually or aurally, with enhancements or without, common enhancements used are binoculars, spotting scopes, telescopes, cameras and with the sudden rise in digital technology high-tech video cameras, audio recording devices and the traditional pen/pencil and notebook.

Birding Gear



Ornithology is the scientific study of birds in laboratories and in the wild, including bird behavior, anatomy and the role of birds in the wild. Ornithology should not be confused with birding.

Twitcher Terminology

  • Twitcher ( tally-hunter,tick-hunter,pot-hunter ) – Person who looks for rare birds.
  • Twitch ( chase ) - the actual act of looking for a rare bird.
  • Twichable ( chaseable ) - a bird that stay in the same position long enough to be seen.
  • Suppression – when a twitcher keep secret the news of a rare bird from other twitchers.
  • Gripped out – the feeling a twitcher has when someone else sees a bird and he doesn't.
  • Grip off ( grip ) - to brag
  • Dipped out – when a twitcher misses seeing the bird he/she was looking for.
  • Flog ( burn up ) - to try to flush out a bird by beating the underbrush – frowned upon by most serious birders
  • Megastick – a very rare bird.
  • Dude – as in the old west, a person who doesn't know much, but pretends he does.
  • Jizz – a bird identified with a fleeting glimpse, usually shape,behavior, movement and general features is enough for an experienced birder to identify a bird.
  • List – all serious birders have lists of birds they have seen.
  • Tick – To tick off a bird on ones list.
  • Crippler – a bird that is so beautiful or rare that it freezes the birder in place.

There are many more Terms used by twitchers as well as birders, but these are the most common.

Birders Competition

Have you ever participated in a Birding Competition

See results

Birding Competitions

Big Day - 24 Hours for a team to identify as many species of birds as possible.

Big Year - 365 days for an individual to identify as many species of birds as possible.

Big Sit ( Big Stay ) - a circled off area that a birder has to stay within, and spot as many species of birds as possible, usually within a certain time frame.

Environmental Issues When Birding

Birding Enthusiasts claim that they have the interests of the birds welfare at heart and are really concerned about conservation.

While environmentalists claim that birders very often scare or stress birds by invading their natural habitat. Especially during competitive events

Birding as a Hobby

Birding as a hobby has been steadily increasing since the advent of the internet, in the past all the information birders got from fellow enthusiasts were outdated, with the rise of the internet, hobbyists get up to date information. The lowering prices of airfare has also contributed greatly to the rise of birding as a hobby.

Watchers Bird watchers at Minsmere near to Eastbridge, Suffolk.


Birders Code Of Conduct

Respect Private Property

Keep away from nests and nesting grounds

Do not use Pishing ( bird calls )

Limit use of cameras , videos recording devices, audio recording devices.

Movies About Birding

In 2011 a hilarious movie about birding was released, The Big Year, it starred Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson. The movie follows three men on their obsessive quest to win a Big Year Competition.

Economics of Birding

Birding is on the rise, and the amount of money North American Birders spend on birding is also on the rise, in 2001 it was estimated that birders spend more then USD 30 Billion on their hobby. That includes travel time and the cost of birding hikes. This is a potentially untapped market.

Popular Locations for Birding Enthusiasts

List of 7 National Parks that have a wide variety of beautiful birds in them.

© 2013 ketage


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    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Good overview. I'm amazed at the number of folks into bird watching.


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