Two weeks ago it was the Easter long weekend, four days of relaxing, exploring and doing whatever the hell I wanted. You might imagine that, like many birders, especially those unencumbered by kids, I would be out trying to spot as many birds as I could. Fact is, I barely left the house. Or even looked out of a window. I wasn’t sick, although I was resting my foot. No, the long and the short of it was that I’m actually feeling a little birded out at the moment. I just couldn’t muster up any enthusiasm to go outside and look for birds.

Now that you’ve finished wiping the coffee (or whiskey) you just spat out onto your screen out, I guess I should try and explain why. Actually, it really shouldn’t be too hard. I did a huge amount of birding earlier this year (and late last year) and like many people if you overdo something you can get a little over it for a while. I’ve done that before, and I’m not unduly worried about it. In a few weeks or months I’ll be back to normal. It isn’t like the birding here changes much anyway. And there is plenty to be getting on with apart from birding. I actually really want to do some diving at the moment. But by the time I next travel I’ll be raring to go again.

I bring this up for two reasons. (Well, three, the third being an explanation to anyone who has noticed this already.) The first is that I have been poorly this week and my deadline snuck up on me and I needed to write something. I am a hack after all.

The second reason is, well, balance. You may have noticed this already, but the people that write the most about birds are, well, very very keen. Exhaustingly so, in fact. This is hardly surprising, because the most enthusiastic people are the most likely to want to write about birds. But it does tend to skew the types of voices you read on birding. Not every birder who goes on holiday with family spends every moment itching to get away and look at birds. Not every birder would look at the prospect of a year spent birding every day across the whole world as an exciting challenge. It actually sounds pretty bloody awful to me. Not every birder aspires to be Felonious Jive, and climb the ranks of the birding elite. Not every birder twitches.

I sometimes feel a twitch of guilt for not birding when I could be, or not caring much about the finer points of second year winter gull plumage. But I shouldn’t, and neither should you. I bird for enjoyment, and if it stops being fun then I’ll soon stop doing it. And so here I am, writing this post on a cold winter’s eve, to tell you that it is okay to be an average birder. Don’t hold yourself up to the impossible standards of people like Felonious Jive or the like. Compare yourself to me instead. I spent Easter in my house, drinking wine and playing Cards Against Humanity. Compared to that you’re surely a fine enough birder.

White Stork

A White Stork that I didn’t see at Easter (Cause there are none here)


(I’ll still be writing here, because of something to do with fine print and Corey getting my first-born if I stop or something like that.)


Written by Duncan
Duncan Wright is a Wellington-based ornithologist working on the evolution of New Zealand's birds. He's previously poked albatrosses with sticks in Hawaii, provided target practice for gulls in California, chased monkeys up and down hills Uganda, wrestled sharks in the Bahamas and played God with grasshopper genetics in Namibia. He came into studying birds rather later in life, and could quit any time he wants to.