Hi, my name is Alexander and I am a very keen birdwatcher.

I started at the age of 5 and now after several years I have become an encyclopaedia of knowledge, ranging from characteristics of birds to their general colourations. For the past two years I have managed to rack up my bird count to around 210 birds, which for a teenager isn’t to shabby!

Robin.Since the start of my birding career they have had a huge impact in my life and have made each walk along the beautiful Cornish coast a whole lot better. My Grandma and Granddad used to take me down a valley called Kenidjack and pointed out simple birds such as the blackbird and robin however, now the matriarch of the group has changed.  I have gone that step further and have learnt the key identification notes and also where to find them!

But why bird watching, what is it about looking at our feathery friends that is so exciting? The simple answer is the unpredictability of it! In other words with a computer game the script can never change but with birds you never know what comes around the corner whether it’s a Robin or a bee-eater, you can never predict it.

Recently it has had a profound effect on every member of the household, with my Mother getting up at 5 in the morning most Saturdays to go ringing and on holiday my sister gets woken up by my alarm! With birding you have to show real commitment to your practice. For example if you want to find the most beautiful bird in the world you don’t wait for the bird to come to you, you go to them. Effort is the true test for this hobby, if you don’t have it there, there is no point carrying on!

A few weeks ago I started ringing, this is where you catch a bird in a net, take two measurements, weight and wing length then attach a ring to its leg. This is vital research (for the BTO) and in the long run may save birds from extinction due to knowledge on either their breeding habits or migration routes. After two weeks I have ringed 5 birds including the elusive, Grasshopper Warbler. This leads me onto another reason that has led me to birding, migration and the fascinating lengths that birds take to reach breeding or wintering grounds. The most famous being the swallow, which travels from areas like South Africa to the UK, this equates to long distances that the mind can’t even fathom. However, there are some unsung heroes who set records on migration – the most amazing being the Arctic Tern. This small seabird travels to both poles in one year! Apparently, they travel the equivalent of going to the moon and back in their lifetime.

Birdwatcher

All of this shows why I do it and how, but how could you? Well it truly depends what type of bird you’re interested in but even going round your local park can find you some nice birds – such as the Blue Tit or even the Goldfinch. The common birds still have a lot to offer, all the rarities are just a bonus! Never mind the Bee-eater or the Blue Rock Thrush, all you need is a pair of binoculars and a nature reserve! That’s it. This is why I love birding! Check out my blog for more reports in the birding world at: http://birdingbiff.blogspot.co.uk