I’m not a twitcher, I’m a dude!
I spend a lot of time enjoying the bird-life rife in South Devon (and elsewhere) and began to wonder if I am becoming a twitcher (not to be confused with Twitter – I don’t tweet). So I decided to look in that fount of (all? any?) knowledge: Wikipedia, and discovered a Twitchers’ Vocabulary (jargon words related to bird-watchers), which made me conclude I’m a dude!
Dude: “A posh bird-watcher who doesn’t really know all that much about birds.” – Bill Oddie, 1980 (Bill Oddie’s Little Black Bird Book. Methuen Publishing. ISBN 0413494802); “A novice birdwatcher; slightly pejorative term. Also used to refer to someone who primarily seeks out birds for photography rather than study.” – 2008 (“The A to Z of birding.” Australian Geographic 90: 104-105)
I may be a dude, but I am actually interested in finding out more about birds, and checking on their identity. I often reach for my bird books to look them up. But I also enjoy photographing them with my faithful point-and-click digital camera. And I feed them all the year round – they appreciate ‘easy food’ at this time of year, when there are lots of hungry baby beaks to fill, as well as in the sparse cold of winter.
Some birds have proved too quick and elusive for me. The wren, that I often glimpse as it roots around in the tangled depths of clematis stems, is one. So I have resorted to the old coin of my early childhood to illustrate this charming little bird.
This poem appears in The RSPB Anthology of Wildlife, which I have had the joy and privilege of compiling for A & C Black. It will be available to buy, soon – a book for keeps. 2011 publication date: 1st September: a date to remember!