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Bird-watching opens path to many possibilities

Growing interest in hobby leads to changes to lives, as well as to minds and habits.

China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-27 10:04

White-eyed Vireo. [Photo provided by Ge Baozhi/Mei Jian/For China Daily]

Predator to protector

Back in the early 1990s, Wang had her first encounter with bird-watching as she accompanied her mother, who was a volunteer bird protector. At the time, Wang was working in the futures industry, specializing in risk control.

"The job was incredibly demanding, while bird-watching offered me a connection with nature, a form of aerobic exercise, and provided mental and physical relaxation," she says, reflecting on her past.

Consequently, she started engaging more in bird-watching activities.

Over time, she began participating in the organization's outdoor education programs, including setting up stalls to advocate for the concept of human-bird symbiosis in nature, and spearheading bird-watching excursions and avian surveys.

Currently, her China bird count extends to a list of nearly 900 species. Unlike some seasoned bird-watchers, she doesn't find mentoring novices tedious. "I'm not fond of solitary bird-watching. I enjoy the collective experience. It's an opportunity to learn from different people, and novices often have 'bird luck', leading us to discover a variety of species," she says, adding, "we can also subtly convey the idea of being friendly to nature to more people.

"People who go bird-watching may not comprehend the ramification of their actions on birds at first. For instance, when rare migrating birds are sighted, some watchers chase them, interrupting feeding and resting, potentially weakening or even killing them. So, it's crucial to raise awareness about harmful behaviors to prevent this from happening."

There was a time when the bird photography community had a tarnished reputation, with some individuals resorting to unethical tactics like using bait, trapping birds and using decoys to take appealing photos.

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