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Birding on the Job

March 20, 2009

Very cool new I and the Bird #96 at Birdchaser. Every once in a while there’s an IATB that’s so creative that I regret forgetting to send a link in. This is one of those times.


A friend of mine sent me this article from the NY Times from earlier this week. For most of us it falls into the “Well, duh” category, but it’s another example of how birding is slowly pervading the mainstream. It turns out that birders are more likely than their non-birding colleagues to accept business trips to far flung, and often otherwise boring, locales to take advantage of birding opportunities. Places like Toledo, Ohio, and Fayetteville, Arkansas; no offense intended by the Times to residents of those places.

While this may seem like par for the course for most of us, we know good birds are everywhere and any different place you go opens up the possibility of a new discovery or tick on the life list, the Times seems surprised and a little flip about those who spend their business downtime in the field as opposed to on the golf course. Almost as if they’re feeling this odd group of people out. Perhaps that’s what you get when you send a business reporter to do a science reporter’s job.

But by and large, the publicity is nice for birders. There are a lot of us out there, and a mention is unusual enough that I have to say it’s kind of heady to see us featured in business article for a major newspaper, even if they do get some of the details wrong.

As a self-employed person, Mr. [Bob] Smith is careful to separate his business travel expenses from his bird-watching ones for tax purposes. But some bird watchers stretch the line between legitimate business travel and bird watching in pursuit of, say, an elusive and endangered black-necked stilt.

Whaaa? Black-necked Stilt elusive? Someone take this guy to a saltmarsh, pronto.

  1. Patrick Belardo permalink
    March 20, 2009 8:18 am

    They’re a bit elusive in NJ! 🙂 In my current job, I was told I would have business travel to Asia and Europe. I took one trip to Belgium and, of course, squeezed in some birding. I haven’t gone anywhere since and that was 2006! Darn false promises. My company is flexible in that I can travel somewhere for work, take a few extra days of personal time and fly home. The flight is on their dime regardless of how long I stay.

  2. MaineBirder permalink
    March 20, 2009 8:29 am

    Back in the early 80’s, I drove truck cross country. I did this for 8 years. That job had me seeing more birds in every type of habitat imaginable. From the east to the west coast, I could pick up birds in three days that most don’t see in years of birding.

  3. Nate permalink
    March 20, 2009 1:27 pm

    @patrick- That’s a pretty sweet deal if you can get it. I can definitely see the appeal to something like that.

    @mainebirder- Very cool. I’ll you could rack up a pretty significant year list that way.

  4. noflickster permalink
    March 20, 2009 3:54 pm

    As a former resident of Fayetteville, AR, I re(pre)sent that remark! The birding is quite good around those parts, including easy trips to many diverse habitats and a good mix of “eastern” and “western” species. Not that the birds know the difference.

    Of course, as a native of the Ozarks, you know what I’m talkin’ about.

    Obviously, I’m lucky in that much of my business travel revolves around birding!

  5. Nate permalink
    March 20, 2009 4:10 pm

    @mike- Hey, I know exactly what you’re talking about, I just don’t know if the Times does… : )

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