Date: 9/24/18 9:05 pm
From: Jason A. Crotty <jasonacrotty...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Not a "birder" anymore, thank god

I actually did this research for a post I did a while back on birding terms
in dictionaries (link below).

OED reports that "birder," defined as "a bird-catcher, a fowler," is indeed
very old, with uses from the 1480s. But in the "bird-watcher" sense, it
reports initial usage in the US, beginning in the 1940s.

As my post notes, Merriam-Webster currently defines "birder" as "a person
who birds."

And add a vote for the big tent view of birding. Apologies for the
slightly off-topic post.

Jason Crotty

On Mon, Sep 24, 2018 at 8:48 PM Lars Norgren <larspernorgren...>

> I well recall the first time I heard the expression "birding", indeed in
> the early 70s when I was about 14 years old. A dude named Vaughn Morrison
> was giving the address of The American Birding Association to Fred Ramsey
> in front of the original HQs(FailingCottage)to Finley NWR. And I also
> recall someone explaining, in print, quite succinctly that "birdwatching"
> had pejorative connotations.
> But the word is centuries old, old as modern English itself, and
> very well attested. Until sometime in the 19th Century "birding" referred
> exclusively to the act of capturing birds, usually with bird lime(glue),
> for the purpose of eating, or selling to other folks that planned to eat
> them. Then along came Florence Merriam Bailey and wrote "A-Birding on a
> Bronco". She had already written "Birds Through an Opera Glass". This was
> the world's first field guide to birds, and I have always taken the title
> as a hint that ornithologists should leave their shotguns at home
> sometimes. That band of gun totin' yahoos, the AOU, didn't take offense.
> They made her a member. The first woman in the AOU, and I fear the only one
> for a few more decades. She was instrumental in getting the Lacey Act
> passed, and much more conservation.
> While it's easy to get a good dose of self-righteous jollies from
> berating those who chase rarities and/or amass lengthy year lists, life
> lists,ad nauseam, the carbon footprint of such activity is a pee-hole in
> the snow compared to all the twenty minute showers people take when two
> minutes would get them just as clean. All that "clean" salmon-killing
> hydropower only supplies Oregonians with half our electricity nowadays,
> while the rest comes from coal or gas. My high school physics teacher had
> one quotation on his office wall:"For every complex problem there is a
> simple solution. And it's wrong."
> I don't have Oxford English Dictionary handy, but I think there
> may be an attestation for "birding" in Chaucer. Perhaps a different
> spelling, certainly a different pronounciation, but that would take this
> hot button word back to Middle English. I'll bet there's OED on-line. I
> encourage the tech-savvy to confirm or discard my idle speculation.

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