Articles About Birds

1. A Few Words In Praise of Birds

2. The Best Time for Bird Watching

3. The Joy of Bird Watching

4. Bird Watching and How To Attract Birds  

5. How To Take A Bird Watching Vacation

6. Learn The Basics of Bird Watching


The following Article contributed by Susie Lear

An Illustrious Hobby - Famous Birders

Bird watching is sometimes seen as a hobby for people of a somewhat eccentric lifestyle – a quiet occupation, on the fringes of society. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In actual fact, a great many powerful, influential and charismatic people have been drawn to the pleasures of birding. From rock stars to politicians and even presidents, plenty of famous people have extolled the delights of unwinding with a pair of binoculars and appreciating the simple, enchanting joys of observing birds in their natural habitat. Here are just a few of the world’s most famous birders:

JIMMY CARTER

Jimmy Carter, who was the 39th President of the United States, is an avid outdoor enthusiast. Despite the quite considerable pressures of his former office, he always liked to escape into the natural world in order to recuperate his energies within the peace of nature. In his memoir ‘An Outdoor Journal’, Carter has recounted the childhood experiences of hunting and fishing in the wilds of Georgia, and spending days happily lost in the woods, watching the birds flitting from tree to tree. This outdoor childhood gave him a considerable grounding in natural knowledge, and a love of nature (particularly its birds) which has remained with him throughout his life. His enthusiasm for bird watching is such that he even made time during important trips to the Middle East to observe the avian life of Israel – “I’ve been bird-watching in Israel with both Palestinians and Israeli bird-watchers, who’ve gone out with me early in the morning, both inside Jerusalem and in other places” he told reporters. He remains a staunch advocate of naturalism, and believes that Americans should do as Valore Books suggest and learn more about the ways of the natural world.

JONATHAN FRANZEN

Pulitzer Prize winner Jonathan Franzen has brought journalistic approbation upon his head for displaying both embarrassment and scorn for the hobby of bird-watching – despite his own avid participation. Franzen has described himself as experiencing a “creeping sense of shame” while birding – “I couldn’t bear to use my binoculars for more than a few seconds” - which has earned him the disapproval of Slate reporter Laura Helmuth. “In birding, as in life in general, don’t be like Jonathan Franzen. Don’t let neurosis, self-involvement, and pride inhibit your enthusiasms” she warns. Nonetheless, despite his conflicted attitude towards his hobby, Franzen has written several New Yorker articles about birding, fought to raise awareness of the mass deaths of songbirds worldwide, and spoken of the deep sense of connection he feels for birds - despite ruefully acknowledging that he considers his passion more of an “addiction” than a hobby. He also features prominently in the HBO documentary program “Birders: The Central Park Effect”.  

PAUL MCCARTNEY

The ex-Beatle and founder of the appropriately named ‘Wings’ is so fond of birds that he supposedly even struck a deal with the estate of his bitterly estranged ex-wife Heather Mills in order to save one of his birding hides during divorce proceedings which were otherwise exceedingly acrimonious. Of course, Britain is a nation of confirmed bird-lovers, so it is perhaps little wonder that Macca should participate enthusiastically in his national pastime. McCartney’s love of birds appears to be longstanding and unfaltering – unlike his unfortunate marriage to Mills. As a teenager, McCartney was an avid viewer of BBC nature program ‘Look’ – even writing to the producers in order to ask for “the drawings of them ducks, if you’re not doing anything with them” (his request, sadly, went unfulfilled).

SEAN BEAN

Renowned for playing warriors, tough guys, and stony-faced leaders, in his spare time British actor Sean Bean indulges a passion for nature which may have confused Boromir or Eddard Stark. He has a great love of Ken Loach’s 1969 film ‘Kes’, about a young, neglected and bullied boy who finds a degree of self-fulfillment through raising a kestrel. Bean even had a kestrel himself as a boy – “I used to have a kestrel. I had a license for it” – and his love of nature has persisted into adulthood. “I was fascinated by wildlife when I was younger…and natural history…and it’s something I still am interested in”. He is also a keen gardener, and fills his carefully cultivated trees with bird boxes, which he constructs himself in his garage.

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