The issue with birding's 'coolness' is that whereas all surfers are seen by non-surfers as 'cool', all birders tend to be regarded as old men in khaki hanging about in wooden boxes. This is a myth perpetuated by the media and also not helped by birding's self-appointed spokesmen who do the reputation of birders and birding no good whatsoever.
Birders - and by that I mean serious birders out there patching, exploring, finding stuff - are the most committed people I know and many of them live their dream. For the rest of us though, who have opted for/been lucky enough to secure job-mortgage-marriage-kids, we live the dream in our minds and on the occasions where we can escape the shackles of the day to day life, rekindle our birding passion. Nevertheless for those of us in this situation, we are still absorbed in this passion round the clock one way or another - writing blogs for instance...
But why is birding cool? As birders we share many things, we find ourselves..
- Hanging out in stunning, remote locations, often by the coast.
- Sensing the weather.
- Being in tune with the patterns of nature, the intricacies of the lives of thousands of species.
- Living in rough conditions.
- Being switched on to environmental and nature conservation issues.
- Travelling light.
- Sharing the killer moment with your mates.
- Feeling immense cameraderie with our mates, yet thriving on solitude.
It just depends whether you give a shit what other people think of you. If you are happy and birding gives you a buzz, however much you do it, or are into it, then it is cool. If you worry about what others think of you and worry that the hobby you have is uncool, then it is maybe because you are uncool! Richard, although I suspect you will never read this, please read back through your blog. Sleeping in barns, seeking windblown Arctic waifs, oozing enthusiasm, living your dream. That is pretty cool in my book mate and if others don't think that, more fool them.
And if all this fails, simply grow your hair and go birding in a wetsuit.
p.s. I blatantly borrowed these pics off the t'internet. If you want me to remove them, let me know.