would be familiar with the word “twitching” “or “twitcher”.
to a birdwatcher adding to his bird list. All serious
birdwatchers keep a life list of bird species that they
see (or “twitch”) during their birding pursuits. Keeping a
life list becomes an interesting and challenging
obsession. In tracking down target species there are no
guarantees that a particular bird will stay in one area or
even turn up when it is expected. Just to catch a glimpse
of a rarity can be a real buzz, but to get a “crippling”
view (i.e. to really see the bird close up and for a good
long viewing time) would be the ultimate in sheer delight
for a birdwatcher.
“twitching” — the act of ticking birds for one’s life list comes from the
fact that birdwatchers (or “twitchers”) are so excited at the prospect of
adding a new bird to his/her life list that they actually develop a
nervous twitch in anticipation. Also the possibility of missing out on
seeing the bird adds more stress and anxiety. A new bird added to one’s
life list is called a “lifer”.
of rare species can be very unpredictable – the idea is to have a good
network in order to learn quickly of any rare sightings and drop
everything immediately to chase down that elusive tick. Some rare birds
will only stay a short while in one spot before moving away. If you miss
out on seeing the bird then it means that you have “dipped”, if your
friends see it and you don’t — then they have “gripped” you.
people would think bird watching is a quite, relaxing pastime but it can
be very stressful if it is taken too seriously. Many friendships have been
strained and even destroyed because of being “gripped” off.
watching, like any obsession such as golf, fishing, etc. is also the cause
of many bird watching widows and surprisingly bird watching widowers. More
and more women are being bitten by the bird-bug. When there is the chance
of a “lifer”, everything else (family, work, friendship) comes second.
are held regularly in Australia and around the world. These are fund
raising events where teams compete against each other to “twitch” as many
species in a 24 hour period as possible. Sponsors are invited to donate a
sum of money per each species sighted — similar to a Walkathon or
Australia the record number of different species sighted in a 24 hour
period is about 210. The distance covered in that time is around 300 – 500
kilometres visiting as many varied habitats as time allows.
watching may sound weird but it is great fun, a fulfilling and a wonderful
pastime. It has given me the opportunity to travel everywhere in Australia
and to some magic places overseas.
you hear a “twitcher” say that he “gripped” off his “birdo” mates by
getting “crippling” views of a “lifer” while others “dipped out” you will
have some idea of what it means.