There are many different facets to ornithology, from garden
feeder observation to the extreme world of obsessional twitching, some careful thought has gone into
this article and has left me wondering exactly where I slot into the scheme of
No doubt wildlife followers would have seen the recent
television broadcast highlighting the activities of some extreme behaviour
regarding ornithology (twitching).
The pursuit of seeing a rare species of bird, is known as
‘twitching’, it has developed into a culture in which individuals travel the
length and breadth of the country in order to increase the number of species
that they have seen. ‘Twitching’ involves a fanatical group of individuals who
are obsessed about birds yet despite being rooted in this obsession with
natural history, their travelling is a form of ‘collecting’ in a similar vein
to philately, aircraft and train-spotters. The notion of ‘twitching’ contests
the boundary between nature and culture and allows one to become increasingly
aware of a community that is shaped by nature.
The birding family tree bears many twisted branches from
feederwatchers to world birders. Yet, few are considered as twisted as the
slavering hordes of ‘listers’ and ‘twitchers’. You will already know that a
lister is a birder who keeps track of birds spotted through the use of
checklists ranging from simplistic to Byzantine. Twitchers take listing to
I think in retrospect I will do exactly what my mood
dictates, and having regard for the prevailing weather conditions go about my
usual Willy Nilly totally unrehearsed spur of the moment decisions as to where
I will try my brush with nature, it has, in the past been very successful.