Who are Birders?
Birding with the Holyoke Boys and Girls Club by Justin Bresnahan
The face of birding in the United States is changing. Stereotypically, many people imagine birding as a popular past time for mainly older white folks.
But this just isn't true anymore. People from all ages from all backgrounds have started to get pumped about birds, nature, and conserving our natural world.
MYBC believes that anyone should be able to form a deep connection to birds and nature. However, there's work to do to make birding and exploring the outdoors inclusive for all. We are inspired by some of the movements below to continue this work with our club members.
Making Birding and the Outdoors Inclusive
Yellow Warbler by Evan Dalton
In response to prominent Black birder Christian Cooper experiencing a racist incident in New York City's Central Park, Black birders and nature enthusiasts organized #BlackBirdersWeek. The energy and momentum from this event is still going and there are no signs of it slowing down. #BlackInNature was also created by Black scientists, naturalists, environmental educators, and nature enthusiasts to celebrate and share their stories.
There are a wealth of topics to explore as part of #BlackBirdersWeek and #BlackInNature. For example, on June 30 2022, the American Birding Association posted a recorded panel “Black Birders: Embracing the Beauty Within”, co-hosted by Sheridan Alford and Chelsea Connor, exploring topics including “childhood experiences with birds, how to pass on generational knowledge of birds, and whether things have changed since the first Black Birders Week.”
Black and Latinx Birders Scholarship
Launched in 2020 as a regional scholarship for Black Birders and Latinx Birders, the Black and Latinx Birders Scholarship is available nationwide. They amplify the successes of Black Birders and Latinx Birders by raising funds for annual scholarships and creating networks of support.
Eastern Wood Pewee by Evan Dalton
Inclusive information about eBird hotspots
eBird hotspots don't tell you everything about the area. For example, some eBird hotspots are near private property, or don't tell you where the trailhead is. For those who are disabled, it's hard to know whether a birding hotspot is accessible.
The Murmuration is a local Massachusetts effort to fill in accessibility and safety information for as many eBird hotspots as possible.
Birdability is a national effort to catalogue accessible birdwatching locations and advocate for more!
Gray Catbird Blossoms by Cory Elowe
Let’s Go Birding Together events are bird walks welcoming “those who identify as LGBTQ, allies, families, and anyone who wants to enjoy an outdoor experience that is inclusive.” Also be on the lookout for local events every June like the Plymouth Pride Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary Pride Hike with MassAudubon, and Manomet Observatory bird walks and Osprey nest viewing at Plymouth Pride in Nelson Park.
There is also an LGBT+ Naturalists page on iNaturalist, and 500 Queer Scientists is a collection of bios submitted by LGBTQ+ people and allies working in STEM to increase visibility and community connections. You can search bios by job category and by location, and the Wildlife Science category includes stories from avian ecologists. Additionally, The Wildlife Society initiative Out In The Field has a Twitter on which they highlight queer wildlife scientists to “increase visibility, build community, and support LGBTQIA+ wildlifers”, including ornithologists.
American Robin by Evan Dalton
Other bird clubs with
inclusive mission statements
The Feminist Bird Club, a birdwatching club dedicated to promoting inclusivity in birding while providing a safe opportunity for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, BIPOC, and women to connect with the natural world, has a chapter in Boston.
The Anti-Racist Collective of Avid Birders is a new group in Western Massachusetts.