Ask any millennial what’s on their bucket list and you’ll likely hear adrenaline-induced activities like skydiving, hiking massive mountains, or chasing the Northern Lights. One activity I guarantee no one mentions? Birding. Stereotypically a hobby for older (retired) travelers, that stigma is quickly changing. According to Conde Nast, urban birding has actually become one of the fastest growing hobbies in North America across all generations.
So before you scoff and ruffle your tail feathers, here’s why you should give birding a chance. Inexpensive and convenient to pick up, birding requires nearly no knowledge or gear to get started. You can do it whenever, wherever you want and completely at your own pace. It’s also a great multi-generational activity so find a mentor who can take you under his or her wing (pun intended).
It Forces You to Slow Down
Birding does have a bit of a stigma for being boring and you will get a lot of blank stares if you try to explain your newfound hobby to your friends. But that’s only because millennials are the most stressed generation to date, constantly go-go-go, side hustle after side hustle. Birding forces you to be present and in the moment, a reason to observe your world, rather than have your eyes glued to a screen. It can simultaneously be exercise and relaxation and is a great way to practice patience over instant gratification. So instead of booking that pricey yoga retreat, grab your binoculars and try birding.
It’s a New Challenge
There are about 10,000 species of birds on earth and only a handful of people have seen more than 7,000. But doesn’t make the challenge any less enticing. Our generation loves life lists. Checking off countries. Counting airport codes. The more you travel, the more you see and document –it’s a proverbial badge of pride. Technology makes it easier than ever to identify and track your sightings. Smartphones and digital cameras replace field notebooks and pencils. Apps like the Audubon Society Bird Guide make it easy to determine what feathered friends you’ve spotted based on a series of questions about the bird’s location, sounds, and physical characteristics. EBirdevengamifiesthe hobby so you’re competing against others to find the rarest species. And if Pokemon Go can become mainstream these days, what can’t?
It’ll Enhance Your Nature Experience
Getting fresh air and exploring the great outdoors is always great – but what if you understood more about your world and what you were looking at? How and why specific species adapt to different ecosystems or prefer certain habitats. You’d appreciate the natural environment that much more. And with sustainable travel a big buzzword, protecting our feathered friends isn’t too far off.
Birding in Beaumont
Whether you’ve been tracking tails for years or new to watching wildlife, Beaumont is a great place to give birding a try. Home to three distinct habitats – wetlands, woods, and coastal -- Beaumont is a year-round bird haven and a major stop along the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail. On two migratory bird paths, the area is highly concentrated with feathered friends because they’re on a breeding path and a popular route used to fly south during migrate (snowbirding is real, ya’ll). Expect to see everything from waterfowl to hummingbirds and sandhill cranes.
To make it extra easy for first-time birders, check out our suggested four-day birding itinerary that includes all the hotspots and discounts around town.