A Conversation About Conservation

Many people associate with nature – they might enjoy camping, scenic drives, or rugged hikes. The highest degree of nature lovers/naturalists are birders. But what is a birder?

Many people that call themselves birders (or bird-watchers) usually do one or all of the following:

  • Go outside to find birds
  • Identify found birds to the best of their abilities
  • Seek out new locations in the hopes of finding new birds
  • Keep a lifelist or in some way quantify bird sightings either verbally or written
  • Acknowledge that some birds are in decline and the environment needs some help


Unfortunately, this is where many birders stop. They love seeing birds for a number of reasons, they know there are environmental problems but don't really know what to do about them. Many birders might fall into what we call the "Generate Awareness Syndrome" – they talk about environmental problems, often blaming a political party, some business, or the general population all together. They feel they are doing their part – they are informing others and generating a lot of awareness.

Generate Awareness Syndrome

  1. Bringing awareness to a problem is enough to combat it – someone else can do the dirty work
  2. Being hypocritical is OK as long as #1 is being followed
  3. Action is for others – I deserve what I have and nobody can take it away from me


This brings us to another point – conservation vs. environmentalism. The two might seem closely related but there is one major variance among them. Environmentalism is about generating awareness while conservation is about action.

Can a birder really call themself a birder if they aren't a conservationist? Is awareness really enough to solve problems? How can environmentalism improve anything without concrete action?

4 thoughts on “A Conversation About Conservation

  1. I had to comment on this one! you brought up some very important details that nothat is sometimes overlooked. Thanks for doing this and helping spread the word on important things like conservation, ect.. through this blog!

  2. Cheers for tackling a difficult subject. A lot of folks talk the talk, but don’t want to hear that they’re not actually walking the walk! If you’re not actually willing to make changes to your lifestyle, it’s just one small step above apathy.

  3. youve hit the spot with this post buddy, how can we bird without caring for the enviroment, its like firefighters who dont care about putting fires out (or something like that).
    We birders are the Vanguard of conservation…..because its real simple….no conservation no birds henceforth NO BIRDING….and there where would we be!! 🙁

  4. Thanks all for the comments. This is indeed a difficult topic but one that is at the core of birding. Birders have the power because they have the knowledge. Now all we need is a little more action!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *