Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pie Chart: How Birders Spend Their Time

How do birders spend their time? It's pretty much different for everyone. But if we are generalizing, this pie chart should be a good breakdown of a birder's free time. Birding makes up a decent chunk of this time, but not all of it, as you will see below. We even manage a decent amount of normal human interaction - that's good news!

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We also took the liberty to further dissect the "birding" slice, below:

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After some thinking, we realized just how little time is spent actually looking at birds - we spend much more time looking for them than at them. Of course, everyone is different. Coffee drinkers, for instance, will sacrifice birding time in order to satisfy their debilitating caffeine addiction. People that drive the speed limit or avoid sketchy game lands in the wee hours of the morning will probably not be pulled over by the police for "excessive speeding" or "looking suspicious" (speaking from experience here).  People who generally bird alone probably won't laugh much, unless they are crazy. This is meant to be a generalization, after all.

Is there anything we left off? What makes up the bulk of your Free Time Pie Chart?

59 comments:

  1. Heeding nature's call? (I have a separate list for that too).

    Nice charts, God I love me some nice charts.

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    1. Thanks Laurence. That was a big oversight, as I keep a list for that too.

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    2. I've found some very good birds when stepping off the path for a waz! :-)

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    3. Found a pool in rural Ireland hung all around with fairy charms when the family took a pit stop on open moorland. No birds in sight as the Little People obviously had priority.
      https://en.gravatar.com/ikanders

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    4. I could make my own about landscape photography. LOL :)

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  2. How about editing Bird pictures in Lightroom or another of your favourite editing programs.

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    1. I myself spend an inordinate amount of time messing around in Lightroom.

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    2. ugh dont' remind me. I'm still working through my 2014 pictures as 2015 is about to heat up.

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  3. I'd imagine this falls under the purview of the police and "looking suspicious," but my lifer Scaled Quail turned into a short, unsatisfactory pursuit. Having seen the quail cross the road while in SE AZ, I quickly pulled off and gave chase through the bush... and nearly as quickly found myself being pursued by the Border Patrol. Hence, having to forego any sort of bino looks at the birds and instead returned to my car to deal with 5-0.

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    1. I'm headed out to AZ this summer... I'll make sure I don't do any suspicious running-through-the-desert antics (even though I'll want to). It's always an awkward conversation with the authorities: "I'm just lookin for birds" isn't something a lot of them will buy!

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    2. Yeah, also walking around the wrong neighborhood with binoculars may also get you stopped by police or worse.

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  4. Birding festivals? Pelagics? Sucking up for free optics? Just kidding. Leaving out "nature's call" proves why women are not usually on "Big Day" Teams with men. Nor do I see mention of beer or pie, which makes me think y'all are underage! :)

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    1. Yeah, I'm sure in a year and a half "beer" will be on there too. Sucking up for free optics, for sure!

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  6. Drinking beer. Studying past historical records. More beer. Searching for books and bibliography online. Borrowing expensive books. Looking for beer shops in remote areas and not finding your favourite tipple brands. Preparing maps. Getting lost. Keeping up with weather forecasts. Waiting for a GPS signal. Re-checking altimeter readings (Himalayan birding makes you do that often). Becoming a weather expert. Bird sound recording. Waiting out the rain or snow under a tree/rock/bush/cave /tent/car. Waiting for a dog to stop barking to make a decent sound recording. Charging batteries. Re-charging power-banks. Looking for the big torch for night spotting. Being afraid of owl calls. Wasting time to spot stars and constellations when you should help looking for night birds. Star-trail photography. Looking at bird photos on camera LCD. Making notes. Finding the tiny pen/pencil in your extra large pocket in the field. Pee breaks.  Looking for good undercover pee spots (I'm a woman, I mark all my territories well!). Poop breaks. Looking or digging for your stuff in your rucksack. Waiting for the birdie to show up most of the time. Identifying types of cloud formations. Mixing up some bird calls (usually warblers and babblers and allies) and listening on tape (actually ipod) to confirm what it really was that we heard. Watching mountains. Sketching mountains from a point. Watching and identifying some flowers and butterflies - and leaving them alone after getting confused. Going through the bird field guide as a daily horoscope. Watching the sunset. Drawing trek-route maps. Re-drawing the map for actual trek undertaken. Chatting up with the locals. Explaining what we're doing to local people. Showing the bird we're trying to spot to them. Identifying tree and plant species. Learning scientific bird names to sound cooler. Buying better equipment and birding gear - Camouflage sweat shirts and sweat pants and caps and hats. Buying anything which comes in green colour. Shopping OCD for bincoluar/camera straps, carabiners and multi-locks to hold all gear in place. Tasting local cuisines. More poop breaks. Carrying extra antacids and Immodium packs. Pitching up the tent. Mid-day snooze break in field during low bird activity. Identifying types of birders. You want me to go on?

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    1. Damn, this is quite the in-depth analysis of birder behavior. I can relate to almost all of these, except maybe the camouflage clothing - I'm more of a plaid and flannel guy myself.

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    2. Absolutely! I wouldn't doubt that my beer slice of this chart would replace at least the Tilley hat, butterfly, drama and ID correction slices, and probably most of the reading slice.

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  7. 1%: taking pictures of birds. 80%: Photoshopping pictures of birds. 19%: talking about previous

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  8. Getting stopped by campus security. That took some explaining. "Don't mind me; I'm just a young lady chilling out in the woods behind the boy's dorm with a camera, checking out yellow shafted flickers." Note to self: campus security doesn't know what a flicker is.

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    1. I feel like this is bound to happen to me in the three more years I'm on NCSU campus. Birders can easily look like stalkers, especially around habitations.

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    2. Its good you didn't tell security that you were just photographing tits >__>

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  9. My husband and I save time birding WHILE driving - that leaves us time to use the facilities, I suppose. :)

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    1. For sure! I've gotten more than a few lifers from the car.

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  10. I spend a lot of time creating my own lists, updating, ensuring that I haven't counted that lifer twice -which has happened.Then I have to shop for pins of places I've been, like Pelee and Cape May and Reifel. And I see photoshopping has already been mentioned, but it should also include sending photos from camera to computer, posting photos, and talking about photos..And cameras. And lenses. And new birding apps.

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  11. Multi computers recording on All About Birds nest cams 24/7. Good to know when you get too old for Field trips etc. Wonderful for home bound Birders, everyone really.

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  12. Where's the 'creating eBird checklists' slice of the pie?

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    1. I can't believe I forgot to put eBird!

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  13. Most of my birding time is spent at home sewing birding patches on my Big Pockets vest.

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  14. The driving portion needs its own breakdown. There's the actual driving but then there's: pulling over on a non-existent shoulder, making a sudden U-turn, calculating the gas I'm using while scanning for birds at 5mph on a wildlife drive in a refuge, wishing for a bigger gas tank, wishing for an in-vehicle bathroom, wishing for a bigger sunroof, rummaging for binoculars / camera / the OTHER camera / the OTHER lens (all of which have tangled their straps) and, of course, trying to clean out the car after a birding trip when all manner of optics have escaped their bags and are strewn throughout the vehicle. I'm sure there's a lot more.

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    1. Perfect happens every time. Looking for lens caps for me.

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  15. You obviously do not belong to a bird club!

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  16. Jim Guion, Arlington, MAApril 1, 2015 at 7:40 PM

    OMG, this is way too funny and way too close to my reality. I can identify with almost ALL of these things. So, now, do we add a new one, keeping track of my birding time by activity, entering it, graphing it, because, really, why not slice and dice it all, it's in our nature!

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  17. What about a slice for those that keep a list - updating/correcting/analyzing/fretting over the list!!

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  18. Love this! I think under "time spent birding" there needs to be a slice of time for "talking about great birds seen in this location on past occasions even though they are not here now" and one for "eBirding via cell phone".

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  19. Oh! And Looking for a Bathroom (or disused corner of field/woods/NWR for purpose).

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  20. Just found this blog and am loving it, good work!

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  21. I sometimes sit on my patio with some wine and camera to shoot any bird I see in the backyard! Every day mostly!

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  22. I have a dream life list of birds I have identified while dreaming. Many are perfectly normal birds that I know in the waking state. Others are strange, like the Terrier Ducks swimming at the edge of the ice, the Lady-faced Parakeet, and the Galapagos Snake-Finch that I found while sitting at a booth in a peculiar restaurant. I list my dream birds only if I actually identify them in the dream. Dream field marks rule, so I never second guess my calls in the morning. — Diane Porter, Google name Fiorinda

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  23. Where's the time for the bar? That's why we all go birding, right? So we have something to talk about at the bar after?

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  24. How about waiting for spouse to catch up because he's sidetracked looking at rocks....

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  25. And then there's the time spent reading blogs about how we spend our time. (Circle of life!)

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  26. Buying bird books or guides? spending hours on internet trying to identify a bird you saw while out on a hike?

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  27. Don’t forget time spent donning/shedding weather- and season-appropriate gear (read: fleece, long underwear, rain slicker, bug spray, sunscreen, etc.)

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  28. Sounds right on to me. No wonder I'm so busy all the time!

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  29. Eating bacon butties at Pulborough Brooks RSPB bird reserve in the UK before getting out in the field, because you are going to need the fuel! With coffee of course. Wondering why you are always a tad late getting out to do the actual birding. What do you mean "it was here half an hour ago" .

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  30. Going to visit my Mom 10 hours away during migration season. Have spent hours mapping E-bird Hotspots to hit on the way and where to camp near a hotspot. My drive time is now at 15 hours.

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