Skip to Content

Seven Signs You Are Not a Birder

The best thing about travel (aside from getting away from the daily grind) is that it allows you to try new things. Sometimes you discover delicious foods you’ve never had before. Sometimes you fall in love with a tiny town or try a new adventure. Occasionally, you discover that something is just not for you. Like birding.

Don’t get me wrong–we like animals, including birds. Sometimes. But to be a true, diehard birdwatcher (or birder, as they call themselves), you have to be willing to go to extremes. Or be very patient. And we are neither.

Here are seven signs that (like us) you may not be a birder.

Stopping on the roadside to photograph a bird

Just a quick stop

You like to get where you are going

When you calculate how long it takes to get somewhere, you generally leave about that much time to go from Point A to Point B. You do not plan to stop frequently or detour (maybe for long periods of time) if you happen to see a new or unusual bird.

When others begin to yell and practically jump from a moving vehicle to watch a bird, you find it disconcerting. Because, hey, there are lots of birds. Everywhere.

The excitement is palpable. Signs not birder.

The excitement is palpable

You and early mornings do not get along

Getting up to enjoy the quiet of the morning may sound like a good idea, in theory. But when it comes down to it, there are very few valid reasons get up before the sun. The only things that would cause you to wake up by 4:30am are a flight at the crack of dawn or a house fire.

You are not incredibly fit

Being a dedicated birder means you have to go where the birds are. And while you might dream of being in shape while you sit on your cushy couch, being on the hunt for a small feathered friend can often require acrobatics. Balancing on logs to cross a river flowing with white water and hiking up absurdly steep hills are both totally doable, right?


Are you willing to spend two hours watching this?

You are not that patient

Your daily life includes doing at least three things simultaneously, one of which involves a smartphone. Conversely, being a good birder requires a desire to stare at bushes/trees/grass for a seemingly endless amount of time. If waiting for hours for something to arrive, flap once, and be gone is not your idea of a great time, it might be time to investigate another hobby.

Muddy shoes

After rain comes mud

Extreme weather is not your friend

Birders will put up with just about anything to cross another species off their list. And while it can be interesting to watch the colors of the sky during a thunderstorm, you’d rather do it inside from the comfort of your living room. Being outside in it is another matter entirely. Not to mention that rains leads to mud and flooding (see white water, above).

Your mind is full of too many things already

Was it a Yellow-breasted Bunting or a Lilac-breasted Roller? Who the hell knows?

Elephant in South Africa

Give us one of these guys any day

You just like other animals more

You could pet a fluffy cat all day or play fetch with a dog for hours. Going on safari to watch the big animals of the bush is a dream come true. I mean, have you seen an elephant up close in the wild? Heck, birds are even OK if you happen to stumble upon them while doing something else. But baby fur seals, they are not.

So what do you think – to bird or not to bird?

Andean Cock of the Rock

After two hours of watching, our prize appeared — the Andean Cock of the Rock

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

AC Wimer

Saturday 24th of July 2021

This was so funny. Just returning from a safari with birder- photographers I could relate to several points you brought up. No patience on my end, but we did see cool birds in addition to the big ones I love!

Gary Sonnenberg

Wednesday 20th of July 2016

Hi Laura,

Thanks for the hilarious post. I agree that you do have to be a special kind of person to take up birding, but then, don't you have to be a special kind of person to take up just about any hobby?


Tuesday 16th of June 2015

Hahahahahahahahahaahahah I LOVE THIS POST! I worked as a tour leader and soooo many of the people on my tours were into bird watching. I love looking at animals. Like monkeys, crocodiles, turtles etc. But birds? If I happen to spot one I am happy, indeed. But I don't go to extremes for that!

Laura Longwell

Tuesday 16th of June 2015

Totally agree!


Tuesday 16th of June 2015

Definitely NOT a birder - night owl, smartphone fanatic who definitely prefers kittens :) Cool post!

Laura Longwell

Tuesday 16th of June 2015

Ha! Thanks, Jo :)

Red Nomad OZ

Tuesday 9th of June 2015

Hahaha, love it! I travel with a birder, but I've sometimes been known to actually select a travel destination without knowing what birds I expect to see there! AND ... I sometimes go for a walk because I want to - NOT because I expect to see birds! On the other hand, while you'd NEVER catch a self-respecting birdo without binoculars, I NEVER leave the house without my camera :D

Laura Longwell

Tuesday 9th of June 2015

Going for a walk only because you want to?? Sounds sacrilegious ;)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.