Birding and Genealogy


At first glance birding and genealogy, both hobbies of mine, might seem to have nothing in common. However, as I enjoy each more fully, I have discovered that there are two types of people who love each hobby. There are the collectors and the explorers.

Collector birders love lists. They travel the world adding to their life list of birds they have glimpsed. For some, it is a competitive sport. Collector genealogists have vast spread sheets of every ancestor that they have identified. Sometimes, unfortunately, in their haste to get an ever bigger data base, they import other genealogy data bases from the internet.

Explorer birders  like to get to know a few birds in depth. They are content to have the same birds visit their yards and feeders, observing their habits at leisure. Explorer genealogists try to learn as much as they can about individuals in their ancestry. They are fascinated with the details of a forebear’s life and their historical context. They rely on primary sources as much as possible and try, often fruitlessly, to correct the mistakes of the collector genealogists.

I am clearly an explorer birder, fascinated with hawks. I am also an explorer genealogist, looking deeply into the lives of several remarkable women in my maternal line whose sketches I am working on posting in the future.


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