Boring 'Animal Observation'

According to a U of Essex study, birdwatchers are more boring than stamp collectors! It’s a bit more complicated (it’s about perceptions), but if so, iNat must be the most boring place to be! If you find everyone else boring you only have yourself to blame | Society | The Guardian


Sure, all those years birdwatchers have to travel to spots nearly nobody else ever visited and seeing thousands and thousands of birds make them hard to socialize and just wipe out everything interesting about them.
On the side note, same as mentioned journalism, science is on the list of “the least boring” interests, guess, fundamental dilemmas became more interesting than actual living beings.


People just don’t know what they’re missing out on!

Roughly 10,000 species of miniature modern dinosaurs that each have their own different plumage, song/call, diet, social system, habitat, etc.

That’s the opposite of boring. If you want free music directly from nature, listen to birdsong (which in turn has inspired many classic and beautiful human songs). If you’re an artist wondering what colours to put together, look at the plumage - such sheer variety, almost every species is unique in some way.


All participants resided in the United States and were recruited online

from the research article (before the 'boring / not so boring journalist)


Haha, if people find birdwatching to be boring, how about watching plants grow to document phenology? Also, the article suggests the perfect fix for this as science journalists are apparently the least boring people: Combine your watcher activities with finding some cool papers and add science journaling to your bird/plant list.


Curious… the birdwatchers I know seem quite well-rounded and have keen minds. The one that comes immediately to mind is a semi-professional musician, ethnic dancer, engineer, art lover, and does historically accurate cosplay, etc. …not boring at all. Another was a wild animal caregiver, animal curator, natural science teacher, kindly and with lovely sense of humor.


It’s actually quite fascinating, looking as it does, on the stereotypical perceptions of boring activities. All of us here do not believe what we do is boring, but may be perceived as such by a wider audience. I would find Accounting to be a boring thing (even though my dad was one), but that’s just me. I don’t like numbers of any sort, but I recognize that many people do. I don’t look down on them - it’s just not my thing. It’s just odd how perceptions affect how we look at people. Rather than seeing a person who is fascinated by x subject, we tend to dismiss it as boring, and them along with it.


I guess this study makes ornithology into the science of transforming the most boring into the least boring.


Birding is so boring that 45 million Americans self identified as birdwatchers in 2016 (that would be before the COVID birding boom). This makes birding hobbiest second only to gardeners in outdoor activities.

This according to:

For reasons most of you can probably figure out, the USFWS was unable to do any of these surveys between 2017 and 2020, but my guess is the numbers will be larger, post-COVID, in coming surveys.


I’d like to see the extreme-hobbiest, mountain climbing, bungee-jumpers find 45million willing participants.


Of all naturalists birdwatchers have the highest average age and the largest ‘disposable’ income.

More than any of us they can travel to those areas, and do so carrying equipment the rest of us can only dream of.

That’s on average, so certainly not representative of every birdwatcher.


I can’t say about other countries, most “birdwatchers” here have an average income and until recent decades most didn’t have cameras, now most of them have, but rarely something truly expensive (and it’s much harder to get enough money for equipment). I used quotes because it pretty much equals ornithologist in 1/3 cases, even though rates of casual birders grow there’s none compared to US and there’s little to no culture of birdwatching among “normal” people.

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Bird watching or birding covers a broad range of activities. There are homebound bird watchers who maintain feeders, bird baths, and bird habitat in their yards. Then there are the hard-core world travelers who spend much time and money on the hobby, adding to their life list and in many cases doing photography. There’s a lot of diversity in how one can pursue the hobby, and probably different degrees to which another person might judge it to be “boring.”


I’m surprised animal observation made the top five for boring hobbies on their bulletin; if that was truly the case you’d think places like zoos and aquariums wouldn’t be as popular as they are. I’m fine if I’m perceived as “boring” when I’m bird-watching, it seems reasonable that some people might find it tedious if they don’t know what they’re looking at (and I’ll admit sometimes it’s a bit time-consuming). But most of the birdwatchers I’ve met on my daily walks all share the same passion and fascination that I do for these creatures; it’s always exciting to exchange sightings of rare birds we’ve seen in the area.


That’s what perplexed me, I was thinking that animal observation/bird watching fell under science, such as in the sector of people who study animal behavior. Seemed like a bit of a fallacy to me.


I remember a radio interview between a science journalist and a scientist. The journalist couldn’t grasp the difference between an interest in science (you browse the journals picking out the titles that interest you and read a few abstracts) and the frequent tedium of doing science (it takes you a week to get the data for one dot on the graph, and you then repeat the experiment 20 times for replication or with different conditions).


Indeed, I have spent $$$$ and time in zoos, aquariums, butterfly exhibits and such. But never a dime to see stamps or coins, unless it’s part of a museum display that I walk by.


Challenging to find a ‘random’ group of people who would pick Science! Journalist! as an exciting occupation. Some observer / researcher bias quietly ignored there.


Go into a jungle and set up lights for moth trapping? I could not think of a better way to spend the evening.


Very true, I have named the robin’s song at 4am outside my window every morning the “SHUT THE **** UP Sonata”


This is from an older study:

An estimate of 61 million birders was made in the late 1980s. The income level of birders has been found to be well above average.

Birdwatching is more popular amongst higher income groups. It is not clear why this is the case but it could be due to lower income groups not necessarily living in leafy suburbs where there are an abundance of bird species, not being able to afford travel to suitable birdwatching habitat or possibly the high cost of birdwatching related equipment such as cameras and binoculars.

Historically, the birding world was often thought of as being pretentious and populated by the elitist leisure class. It is a recognised fact that those responsible for founding the birding community were wealthy. In addition to having the leisure time to appreciate nature, they were also the largest funders of conservation efforts. Thankfully, today this landscape is changing. The birding world has increased its diversity by age, sex and race and this increased diversity is in everyone’s best interest to create more citizen scientists and widen support for the processes needed to protect birds and their habitats.

The profile of birdwatchers does appear to be changing though.