Birding or twitching

Is there a difference between birding and twitching.?


Do I get classed as a twitcher or birder, ?


I watched that programme last week and personally im not interested in driving to the North Of Scotland in the hope of seeing some rare bird. I would rather wait until they come to me . I go to all our local reserves ie. Cosmeston lakes, Kenfig Park Nature Reserve. Forest Farm etc  I photograph what I see . And to be honest I am happy to improve my photgraphy on birds.

Do you go twitching or birding ?. I am off to Cosmeston or somewhere tomorrow to do what I class as birding ( birdwatching ). So is there a difference.

  • Hi


    I only saw a bit of that programme but, after being at Mersehead when there was a Glossy Ibis on the reserve, was that the twitchers ( a couple anyway) blew in - were only interested in the GI - took photos of it and left not bothering with anything else (lovely weather, lots of other birds, beautiful place) - whilst the birdwatchers who had come specially to see the GI stayed to enjoy the rest of the bird life.   I probably would not even class as a proper birdwatcher as I did not know what the bird was until somebody looked at the photos in my camera!

    You sound like a birdwatcher to me!


    see my photos on Flickr

  • A birder enjoys seeing birds for their own sake. They tend to enjoy just being outdoors, are happy to see familiar species repeatedly (though something new is always nice), and don't worry too much if a rarity turns up somewhere vaguely nearby and they miss it.

    For a twitcher it's all about numbers and lists. Life can be one long hunt for new "ticks" and they can get quite stressed if they miss out. Some even develop facial tics in such circumstances (hence "twitcher"). Twitchers are inclined to drop everything and travel considerable distances to add new ticks to their lists. Regretably some can get obsessive about it and compromise the welfare of "target" species by trying to flush them from cover for that all important view.

    Twitchers also have their own vocabulary.

    You sound like a birder rhonddaborn - just like me.


    Every day a little more irate about bird of prey persecution, and I have a cat - Got a problem with that?



    go to 'BIRDING TIPS'   - for the discussion :)

    This is an update following the BBC prog about twitchers :)


    Birdwatcher -  anyone can be a birdwatcher, at kitchen window or reservoir.  Owning binoculars immediately  qualifies you. Birdwatchers let birds come to them.

    Birder - a serious Birdwatcher who (almost certainly) owns a scope, watches a local patch ( patch worker) , knows his or her stuff, doesnt carry a field guide and looks for certain birds at certain times of the year. A birder knows birds by call as well as appearance.  Keeps a log of his'her sightings and may photograph them or take notes in the field.  Likes to find their own birds. May go on the odd  twitch occasionally ( see below) . Birders go out looking for (specific) birds.

    Twitcher - a birder who will travel great distances in his home country to see birds he hasnt seen in that country before. Diagnostic feature- will almost certainly know how many birds they have seen in Britain ! Twitchers chase specific individual birds.

     The best Twitchers know their birds extremely well. Some just do it for a bigger list :)

    The most obsessive will shake, tremble, vomit, cry under pressure especially if they dip out on  a lifer.


    For advice about Birding, Identification,field guides,  binoculars, scopes, tripods,  etc - put 'Birding Tips'   into the search box

  • Birding - Watching birds

    Twitching - Going hunting(not literally) for rare birds, for a 'tick' even if it takes half a day to get to the place for a LBJ. Also uses language such as 'stringer' 'dipping out' etc.

    I'm mainly a birder, but I do go looking for rare birds but I wouldn't drive more than an hour for it! The best 'twitching' I've done was twitching lesser yellowlegs, in my local patch so I don't really think that counts as twitching! We all love seeing new birds afterall, whether it's a goldfinch or palla's reed bunting!

    'Dip a dee dah, dip a dee ay, we're not seeing any birds to-day...'

  • In reply to Tern:



    as I pointed out before on here somewhere :)  Twitching is a matter of distance in a sense.

    If you want to see your first avocet and live in London, you probably have to go to Minsmere , North Norfolk or Kent. Same goes for any bird that isnt seen in your local neighbourhood :) Is that twitching?  I once twitched a Glaucous Gull at my local gravel pit- took me 10 mins to get there- it was a new bird for me- was that a twitch?

    I hold to Bill Oddie's general descriptions- under his system I'm a birder, I decide what species I want to see this week/ season and I go out looking for them.  Warblers in April- Waders in  August -  Yellow browed warblers etc in September- Snow Buntings in November in Divers in December etc. etc.   Simplistically speaking Birders basically are pro-active :) I find birds and depending on their rarity or otherwise, other birders or twitchers come to see them :)



    For advice about Birding, Identification,field guides,  binoculars, scopes, tripods,  etc - put 'Birding Tips'   into the search box

  • In reply to seymouraves:

    I am now more confused. I am selling my binoculars and camera on ebay and getting golf clubs. Then ill be a golfer or match golfer  or bandit .

    As I said im happy to stroll by mine and there are such an array of species in the mile and hlaf either way I feel thats enough to go and see them . There are enough species there to photograph. I would class myself as a birder then

  • In reply to rhonddaborn:


    Hows about-  it's only a twitch if it's

    a- a new bird for you in Britain?

    b- more than 50 miles from home?

    c-outside your county?


    or see this website-


    For advice about Birding, Identification,field guides,  binoculars, scopes, tripods,  etc - put 'Birding Tips'   into the search box

  • I class myself as in between a birdwatcher and a birder although I have a camera & long lens set-up rather than a scope.

    I do go out looking for specific birds but I don't travel long distances like a Twitcher does, and I don't keep lists.

    Best wishes Chris

    Click Here to see my photos

  • I know what group I firmly place these people in, and it is none of the above I can tell you.

    From this weeks Birds Guides email, emphasis my own.

    "Cornwall continued to shine with the first-winter Green Heron continuing to perform at the Lost Gardens of Heligan all week and the American Bittern finally gave good views at Walmsley Sanctuary to 6th. Restricted access to the tower hide to view this bird caused some consternation and there was even a minor scuffle at one point! I bet the members must be glad to have the hide to themselves again now."


    Death - Terry Pratchett (The Last Continent).

  • When I stay in Cornwall, I watch the Waders and Gullson Hayle Estuary. When in Mid Wales I watch the Red Kites. When I am at home I watch the Sparrows in my garden. I watch birds wherever I go even when walking to the shops.  I love birds whether common or rare.  I photograph but don't keep lists. Personally I don't care what label I carry. It's not about me, it is about the birds.



    Let not your heart be troubled