“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop
The 3rd of my ‘5 ways to well-birding’ is to give. Non-birders and those without an interest in the outdoors may take for granted what is around them on an everyday basis. I feel that the biggest thing we as birders can give is to share our interest with others.
In the school I work in, the teenagers I teach are aware of my interest in birding. It started out as a form of mocking ‘what you been up to this weekend Joe, looking at birds?’. Then it became a mild interest; such as the time a Red Kite soared across the road in front of the car on the way to an extra-curricular activity; met by cries of incredulity from my students at its size and power.
Soon I was able to give them a bit of information about how I use OS maps and then Google Maps to find new locations to check out for birding. It’s amazing how some young people these days can be as enthralled in a map as I was when I was their age.
As a ‘younger’ birder, I find that other people, be them birders or not; seem to be intrigued by why I’m looking into the shrubs at the end of the lake… so I share things with them… I GIVE them something to appreciate and consider.
Birding offers many ways for us to give something back. Personally I help out at educational events for my local birding group, providing me a platform to share and enthuse others with our wonderful hobby. This can be as simple as paying our membership fees to conservation organisations or helping to get someone ‘on to’ a bird when we are out somewhere.
We share information, or ‘gen’, with each other. We ‘put birds out’ so that other people can enjoy them too. Some of us share our records with recorders, monitors and organisations – helping to develop a broader, more accurate picture of birdlife in our areas and the country in general. This seems natural to most of us, part of what we do and why we do it. This sense of purpose and responsibility is part of why I believe birding can be so positive for wellbeing.
Birding – The gift that keeps on giving.