What are Bird Watchers called? [Complete Guide]

What are Bird Watchers called
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Throughout history, humans have found joy in watching birds in various locations such as their own yards, forests, parks, and any habitat where avian species reside. Bird lovers engage in this activity to identify different bird species, record noteworthy observations, share their hobbies with fellow enthusiasts, and even make valuable contributions to scientific research. If you’re new to bird watching, you might be curious about What are Bird Watchers called? In this blog post, we have all the terms used for bird watchers, each with its own connotations and preferences among enthusiasts. Regardless of the specific term used, the common thread is the undeniable enjoyment that comes from observing and learning about our feathered friends.

What are Bird Watchers called?

Bird enthusiasts who spend their time observing and learning about birds are known by various names. Some prefer to be called birders, while others may identify as ornithologists or bird enthusiasts. There are also those who go by the term twitchers, especially if they actively seek out and compile a list of bird species they have spotted. Below is the list of all the names used for Bird Watchers


  1. Birders: This term is widely used and refers to individuals who actively seek out and observe birds in their natural habitats. Birders often possess a strong interest in and knowledge of avian species, their behavior, and their identification.
  2. Ornithologists: Some bird watchers, particularly those with a deep understanding of birds and their scientific study, may refer to themselves as amateur ornithologists. They may engage in bird research and compile information about specific species or behaviors.
  3. Twitchers: Twitchers are birders who focus on spotting as many bird species as possible to add to their life list. They may travel long distances or participate in competitive events to find rare or elusive birds.
  4. Listers: Listers are bird watchers who enjoy creating lists of birds they have observed or identified. They take pleasure in recording and documenting the different species they encounter during their birding expeditions.
  5. Chasers: Chasers are bird watchers who actively pursue rare bird sightings. They follow reports or “chase” after sightings of uncommon or unusual bird species, often traveling long distances to catch a glimpse of these elusive birds.
  6. Avian enthusiasts: Some bird watchers simply refer to themselves as avian enthusiasts. They have a general love and appreciation for birds and enjoy observing them in their natural habitats.
  7. Protobirders: This term may be used by individuals who are new to bird watching or in the early stages of developing their birding skills. They may consider themselves as beginners or novices in the hobby.
  8. Tickers: Tickers are bird watchers who enjoy keeping track of the number of bird species they have observed. They take satisfaction in reaching milestones and increasing their species count.

It’s important to note that the terminology used can vary among individuals, and some bird watchers may identify with multiple terms depending on the context or their personal preferences. Ultimately, the chosen name reflects their level of dedication, knowledge, and passion for observing and learning about birds.

What is the difference between a bird watcher and a twitcher?

What is a Bird Watcher

A bird watcher is an individual who engages in the hobby of bird watching. This activity involves observing and appreciating birds in their natural habitats. Bird watchers are often drawn to the beauty, behavior, and diversity of avian species. They take pleasure in immersing themselves in nature and observing birds in various settings. Bird watchers may have specific interests, such as particular species, groups of species, or types of habitats. They enjoy spending time outdoors, equipped with binoculars, spotting scopes, or cameras, to enhance their ability to view and appreciate birds without disturbing them. Bird watching is often a tranquil and reflective activity, allowing enthusiasts to connect with the natural world and gain a deeper understanding of the avian realm.

What is a Twitcher

A twitcher is a specific type of birder with a distinct focus on expanding their life list, which records all the different bird species they have encountered. These enthusiasts are driven by the excitement and challenge of adding new species to their list. Twitchers may go to great lengths, including traveling long distances, to spot rare or uncommon birds. They have a competitive spirit and may participate in events such as “Big Days” or “rarity chases” to maximize their species count. Twitchers often invest significant time, effort, and resources into their pursuit, aiming to achieve high numbers on their life list. They are highly motivated and dedicated to the task of encountering and documenting as many bird species as possible.

Key differences between Bird Watcher and Twitcher

The main difference between a bird watcher and a twitcher lies in their motivations and approaches to birding. A bird watcher’s primary objective is to observe and appreciate birds in their natural habitats. They find joy in immersing themselves in nature, observing bird behavior, and connecting with the avian world. Bird watchers have a broader focus on the overall experience and understanding of birds.

On the other hand, a twitcher’s main goal is to expand their life list by spotting new bird species. They are driven by the challenge and excitement of adding rare or elusive birds to their records. Twitchers are often more competitive and may engage in events or competitions to maximize their species count. Their focus is more specific and targeted towards achieving a high number of bird species encounters.

While both bird watchers and twitchers share a passion for birds, their distinct motivations and approaches set them apart. Bird watchers prioritize the enjoyment and connection with nature, while twitchers prioritize the thrill of adding new species to their life list.

What is the difference between Birding and Birdwatching?

Birding and bird watching, while often used interchangeably, have distinct differences, especially among avid bird enthusiasts. Bird watching is a more passive form of observing birds, where individuals casually watch birds as they fly around or visit feeders. It is a leisurely activity focused on appreciating the beauty and behavior of birds without actively seeking out new species.

On the other hand, birding is a more active and dynamic pursuit that can be considered a sport in itself. If someone identifies as a birder, they actively engage in the search for birds in their natural habitats. Birders are constantly honing their bird-searching skills through various means, such as participating in classes, attending field trips, and studying bird guides or literature. They are eager to improve their knowledge and expertise in bird identification, enabling them to recognize different species and their distinguishing characteristics.

Birders are often equipped with specialized equipment such as high-quality binoculars or spotting scopes to aid in their birding endeavors. These tools allow them to observe birds from a distance and capture finer details, such as plumage patterns or behavioral nuances. The focus of birding extends beyond casual observation, as birders actively seek out specific species, target different habitats, and keep track of the birds they encounter.

What is an Ornithologist?

An ornithologist is an individual who has obtained a degree in ornithology, which is a specialized field of study focused on birds. They may also hold a Ph.D. in biology, with a specific focus on a particular type or aspect of bird research. Ornithologists are dedicated professionals who work in various settings, such as zoos, museums, universities, or nature centers, to further our understanding of birds and contribute to their conservation.

In their professional capacity, ornithologists engage in a wide range of activities to deepen our knowledge of avian species. They conduct research to investigate different aspects of bird biology, behavior, ecology, and evolution. This research often involves fieldwork, laboratory analysis, and data collection to study birds in their natural habitats or controlled environments. Ornithologists may also engage in population surveys, bird banding, or tracking projects to monitor bird populations and movements.

Furthermore, ornithologists play a vital role in conservation efforts. They work to identify and address threats to bird populations, develop strategies for habitat preservation, and collaborate with organizations and policymakers to implement effective conservation measures. Ornithologists also contribute to public education and awareness programs to promote bird conservation and appreciation.

It’s worth noting that some bird watchers may refer to themselves as amateur ornithologists. These individuals have a keen interest in observing and learning about birds, similar to professional ornithologists, but without formal academic training. Amateur ornithologists often engage in bird watching as a recreational hobby, actively observing and documenting bird species and their behaviors. They may compile valuable information, contribute to citizen science projects, and share their findings with the broader birding community.

Famous Bird Watching Competitions

Bird-watching competitions are events where participants aim to increase the number of bird species they have observed and recorded on their list. These competitions provide an exciting and challenging environment for birders to test their skills and knowledge while enjoying their passion for avian species. There are three main types of bird-watching competitions that individuals can participate in

Big Day:

In a Big Day competition, participants strive to spot as many bird species as possible within a 24-hour period. The person or team with the longest list of identified species at the end of the day emerges as the winner. This type of competition requires strategic planning, swift identification, and efficient navigation to maximize the number of species observed.

Big Year:

The Big Year competition spans an entire calendar year, from January 1st to December 31st. Participants compete to accumulate the longest list of bird species observed during this period. It requires dedication, perseverance, and a willingness to explore various habitats and regions to encounter a wide range of bird species. The participant with the highest number of recorded species at the end of the year claims victory in this challenging competition.

Big Sit or Big Stay:

In a Big Sit or Big Stay event, a team of birders sets up in a designated area with a specific diameter, typically around 17 feet. They remain within this area for a continuous 24-hour period, carefully observing and recording all the bird species they encounter. This type of competition emphasizes the importance of a specific location, allowing participants to focus their efforts on studying the avian diversity within a confined space.

Bird-watching competitions are not limited to casual events but are also recognized as competitive sports in some major events held in the United States. For instance, the World Series, which has taken place annually since 1984, adopts the “Big Day” format. It occurs in New Jersey during May when migratory bird sightings are at their peak. Other notable competitions include the New York Birdathon and the Great Texas Birding Classic, which attract participants from diverse backgrounds to engage in friendly competition while celebrating the beauty of birds.

These bird-watching competitions provide an opportunity for birders to challenge themselves, learn from each other, contribute to citizen science efforts, and deepen their appreciation for avian diversity.

Famous Bird Watchers Societies

In the United States, there are several notable bird-watching societies that cater to the interests and needs of bird enthusiasts. These organizations play a crucial role in fostering a sense of community, providing valuable resources, and promoting the conservation and appreciation of avian species. Three prominent bird-watching societies in the United States are the National Audubon Society, the Birdwatchers’ Society, and the American Birding Association, each with its own distinct focus and purpose.

National Audubon Society

The National Audubon Society has a primary emphasis on bird conservation and the protection of their habitats. Through their numerous programs and initiatives, they strive to safeguard the well-being of birds and work towards preserving the environments they rely on. The National Audubon Society conducts research, advocates for policy changes, engages in habitat restoration projects and raises awareness about the importance of bird conservation.

Birdwatchers’ Society

The Birdwatchers’ Society places a strong emphasis on education and aims to provide valuable learning opportunities for individuals interested in birds. They offer a variety of resources, including a dedicated magazine that features articles, photographs, and information about birds and their behaviors. Additionally, the Birdwatchers’ Society offers online courses and workshops where participants can deepen their knowledge of avian species and improve their bird-watching skills.

American Birding Association

The American Birding Association focuses on providing comprehensive information and resources to birders of all experience levels. They serve as a valuable reference for bird identification, offering a wealth of information through their website, publications, and various publications. The American Birding Association also produces podcasts featuring discussions on birding topics and organizes an annual conference that brings together bird enthusiasts, experts, and vendors from around the country.

Final Thoughts on What are Bird Watchers called

bird watchers are known by various names such as ornithologists, birders, twitchers, and enthusiasts. They share a common passion for observing and learning about birds, whether casually or actively seeking out different species. Their contributions range from scientific research to conservation efforts, making bird watching a rewarding and engaging hobby for nature lovers.

I'm Nauman Afridi, the bird enthusiast behind Birdsology.com. My lifelong passion for birds has led me to create a space where fellow bird lovers can find valuable insights and tips on caring for our feathered friends.Professionally, I'm a brand strategist and digital marketing consultant, bringing a unique perspective to the world of bird care. Whether you're a novice or an experienced bird owner, Birdsology.com is designed to be a welcoming community for all.Feel free to explore, and reach out if you have any questions or just want to chat about birds.
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