Birding, on its face, seems to be a rather ecologically sensitive activity. What could be more environmentally sound than getting out into nature and scoping out birds, right? While it is true that one of the foundational drivers of conservation is the concept of protecting what one loves, sometimes one’s desire can exert a perversely detrimental influence on the object of that attention. At least that’s what my ex-girlfriends have told me…
Kidding aside, some brands of ecobirding is more eco than others. BIGBY and backyard birders have cause to feel virtuous in this regard. I, on the other hand, fantasize about traveling all over the world in search of new ecosystems to explore and lifers to tick. These voyages, whether local or international, have their environmental costs. To add more carbon-spewing fuel to the fire, those of us who blog might, by promoting global hotspots and tantalizing vagrants, actually encourage more wanton, entirely discretionary travel, further adding to our freight of pollution. It’s enough to make you want to stay home, breathing in off-gassed toxins from the paint and plywood around you! Who are we kidding? Birding may not tread as lightly on this Earth as, say, picking cans off the street for the recycling center, but individually and collectively, birders have done and continue to do quite a bit in support of a healthy, harmonious global environment.
For example, most birders I know ascribe to one of the most basic tenets of environmental responsibility, the commandment to “take only photographs, leave only footsteps.” The inspired Ecobirder certainly does a remarkable job with the former, though I can’t speak to how well he manages the latter. Ecobirder’s photos of Minnesota avifauna from eagles to owls to waves of glorious winter waterfowl illustrate his obvious passion for birds, wildlife, and the environment. You’re sure to enjoy Ecobirder’s work; just start with his spring migration edition of I and the Bird #72.
Another fundamental rule of environmentalism is to think global and act local. One way for you to interpret this is to bird locally and blog about it globally. Even better, you could blog about birding or wild birds locally then submit your best work to the next host of I and the Bird, who, if you live in the same hemisphere I do, is all the way on the other side of the globe! That’s right, Snail from is coming back for a second triumphant turn as host so it behooves you get your posts and summaries in to me or her (snailseyeview AT optusnet DOT com DOT au) by U.S. Tax Deadline Day, which for the rest of the world is simply Tuesday, April 15.