A subject I've touched upon before on this blog is the grumpy birder. Today I want to mention in particular the negative attitude some birders can show towards newbies. These birders (thankfully few and far between) are just too 'good' to bother. For some reason they can't see the bigger picture that the more people we encourage into enjoying our wildlife, the better it is for our wildlife.
Last night on Facebook there was a perfect example of this. 84 comments and one hour later thankfully the post was deleted. And I must say the original poster wasn't nasty to anyone, there was far more vile language being thrown back at him.
It all took place on the UK Bird Identification page and the offending post, written by a very good and experienced birder, went something like this...
"I joined this page with an open mind but I find myself banging my head against a brick wall. In the last week help has been asked to ID photographs of common birds like Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Greenfinch, Dunnock and House Sparrow. Some by so called wildlife photographers. Buy a book!"
It was actually a lot longer than that but I can't recall it word for word.
I take great enjoyment in pitching in my thoughts when it comes to bird ID. Whether it's a tricky immature Gull or something as simple as a Robin. It doesn't bother me how common the bird is, if the observer has asked for help, they want help! I along with a couple of others man the firstname.lastname@example.org email account, and whenever I see a plea for ID help anywhere on social media I just want to help.
Back when I started out I always found working it out for myself the most prolific way of learning. But I'm open minded enough to know that this may not be everyone's favoured method. Some people may not want to learn at all, they just want to know what that bird is. Others may already have an idea what it is and just want a second opinion. But surely we don't need to care about any of this. If someone is interested enough to ask "what is this bird?" Then let's help. It could be the spark that sets off a life long love of wildlife.
If however they log on to the Bird ID page on Facebook with the intentions of posting their unknown photo, only to read an expert moaning about how 'stupid' everyone is for not knowing the common birds...