I have been a recreational birdwatcher for 20 years although these days I am a bit too lazy to be considered a serious participant. I keep my eyes open but try to avoid the excesses. Nevertheless I have an admiration for those who have devoted their lives to this hobby. People like Mike Carter and Rohan Clarke are knowledgeable people in the field of ornithology. 20 years ago getting a total of seeing 700+ Australian bird species was considered a major achievement – something to target over a lifetime. Now Mike Carter has a total of 854 species. It is an amazing achievement that in part reflects an intensive exploration of Australian-classified islands to the north of our continent. Also an incredible effort on Mike’s part.
Birdwatching is a hobby that helps to put people in touch with their environment. It does no harm and is a lot of fun. I started myself by buying a book of Australian bird species and by trying to see how many I could spot in my backyard and in the surrounding neighbourhood. It rapidly became an infectious addiction that cooled a bit when my children reached school age and needed a non-absentee dad. But I may well get back into it now that they are young men and women not kids.