What do Daryl Hannah, Mick Jagger, Sir Paul McCartney and Jimmy Carter all have in common? They are all bird nerds. And because I feel so strongly in the power of birding to help inspire environmental awareness, I would like to encourage these note-worthy nature lovers to declare their nerdiness to the world!
I think that getting people outside, nose to nose with nature, is a great way to persuade them to learn to Take Care of Their Share of the Planet. As an avid backyard birder myself, I know that birdwatching inspires a love of nature that soon goes well beyond the longing to just look and listen, but develops into a desire to preserve and protect not only the birds themselves, but the plants and habitat areas that they need to survive.
Birdwatching inspires a passion for the planet. And I think that if we could encourage more of our celebrities to talk about that passion, then they may be able to persuade some of their fans to pick up a pair of binoculars and a good birding guide, and step outside. They could entice them with the challenge of a hard to find species; dazzle them by imitating the call of one of their favorite song birds; pull out their birding journal and read a paragraph or two; or wear a Bird Nerd t-shirt to proclaim their hobby to the world. In fact, if you are a celebrity birder, I’ll even BUY you the shirt! Just let me know your size and I’ll get one to you.
Although information about celebrity birders is hard to find, here are a few facts that might encourage fans to give this eco-friendly hobby a try:
Daryl Hannah – She may have been Tom Hank’s mermaid love interest in “Splash” but in real life, this American actress in an environmentalist and birdwatcher. We don’t know if she just sticks to casually watching the birds that visit her backyard or if she even keeps a life list but we do know that she has stated her interest in watching birds during interviews.
Jimmy Carter – Yes, even a former president of the United States of America is a birder! Jimmy and his wife Rosalyn have birded throughout the world and rumor has it that their combined life list is around 1,500 species. Much of their world birding is probably a side effect of travels related to Carter’s work but the fact that they take the time to check out bird ringing stations in Israel and search for African Hoopoes in Zimbabwe shows that they birding plays an important role in their lives.
Paul McCartney – “I’ve always liked birds. It’s a theme of mine,” Paul explains. “I think they’re symbolic of freedom, of flying away. As a kid, I was a keen ornithologist and had a little pocket book, the Observer’s Book Of Birds. I lived on the outskirts of Liverpool and could walk just a mile to be in quite deep countryside.”
Graham Madge, of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, reports that in the spring of 2009, there was a 20% increase of visitors to the UK’s reserves compared with the previous year. It appears that more women are birdwatching and that unlikely fans abound, including: Mick Jagger, Van Morrison, Joanna Lumley, Daryl Hannah and Cameron Diaz.