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7 World’s Most Famous Bird Watchers (Updated)

A lot of famous bird watchers can be found throughout history. You may be surprised to know that many important scholars and artists were into this hobby, as well as a president who was known for his profound passion for birding, alongside politics. Some of them even discovered rare species of birds. In addition, many celebrities are into this hobby as well.

Bird watchers observe birds anywhere, whether it be in their backyard or kilometers away in a forest. They not only enjoyed this passion alone but also taught us so many things.

7 Most Popular Bird Watchers In History

This is the category of people who got famous because of their passion for birding. They have dedicated most of their time studying the rare species of birds and then sketching and painting them on paper, giving us an outlook on a world that was unknown to many. Below is the list of some of these well-known birdwatchers of all time.

Bill Oddie

Bill Oddie is an English bird watcher. He is also a musician, writer, television presenter, comedian, and artist! Bill was born in a city in Birmingham and has been into this interesting passion of his since childhood. 

He is one of the most famous birders in history and his hobby led to success as well. In current years, Bill now has a well-established reputation as a conservationist on wildlife issues.

Louis Agassiz Fuertes

Louis Agassiz Fuertes was an American birder who is also an illustrator and an artist. He is known as one of the most prolific birders of all time, coming in second place after James Audubon.

This man took birding to a whole new level, dedicating most of his time to making thousands of bird sketches and paintings. He would spend half of his time studying the gifts of nature and then come home and spend the rest of his time bringing them to reality through drawings. Thus, his paintings were all based on his studies of the birds’ nature.

John James Audubon

John James Audubon was an American bird watcher and painter. He did extensive studies that revolved around documenting various species of birds. He used this in illustrating his book about birds in which he portrayed them in their natural habitat.

One of his most famous written books is called The Birds of America. It is regarded as one of the best bird-watching books ever written in history. Moreover, this man also helped discover 25 rare species of birds that were unknown to humankind before.

Olivier Messaien

Olivier Messaien was a French bird watcher and one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. His absolutely beautiful and complex pieces took music to a whole new level. In addition, Olivier was also a passionate birder and showed an equal interest in the study of birds alongside his music.

And what’s even greater is that some of the composition of his music was an inspiration from the sounds of birds! He mentions that his study about the nature of birds influenced him to compose great pieces.

Paul Johnsgard

Paul Austin Johnsgard was a famous artist besides being a well-known birder. He developed his hobby of birding when he was a kid.

As he grew up, he wrote over fifty books over the course of many years that contained monographs of cranes and waterfowls.

Albert Einstein

Einstein was also very keen on bird-watching alongside science. In fact, he has mentioned that he used to go out on little adventures early in the morning to watch birds whenever he had the time.

There are a great number of biographies written about him in which there are mentions of him having a strong passion for birding. It was his favorite pastime!

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin was an avid birder and was famous for his work of sighting birds. He spent most of his outdoors, trying his best to sight rare species of birds.

In Pennsylvania, there is a famous park that was named after him. That park is considered to be an important birding area due to Franklin’s early work as a birder. As to this date, many people still visit this park in order to sight rare birds.

And the list goes on! It is quite surprising there are so many other popular birders in history that took up this hobby of bird-watching at such a young age and some even continued it to this date as a career.

Celebrity Birdwatchers You Should Know About

The second category of birdwatchers is celebrities who love birding. There are many celebrities who you did not realize or know were birdwatchers. Well, it is common not to as after all, a paparazzi can’t cover everything. Thus, we have made a list for you to know more about the celebs’ hobby of bird-watching.

Jimmy Carter

According to an engaging article, it was discovered that US president Jimmy Carter has an ardent hobby of birding. He has been in over 25 countries birding and sighting some of the rarest birds.

Not only this, but Jimmy has also been bird-watching in the Middle East, as suggested by the USN. He was there on official business and somehow fitted this into his busy schedule.

Alison Steadman

Alison Steadman is an English actress who has a fond hobby of birding and makes time for it amidst her busy schedule of screen-acting. She loves watching birds in the garden of her house in north London.

Recently, she has endeavored further afield, chasing rare birds in forests. She went to an RPSB reserve with a resident birder and was successful in spotting a pair of purple herons. Those birds were the first of the species to nest in the UK.

Rory McGrath

Rory McGrath is a British comedian who is also very keen on birding. In other words, being keen would be an understatement as Rory was more or less obsessed with birds. 

His research about birds is so extensive that he can tell the scientific names of about 500 British birds. He spent a significant amount of his childhood venturing on cliffs, sighting birds, and listening to their melodious songs.

Prince Phillip

You may be surprised to know that Prince Phillip who is actually more well-known for shooting birds instead of sighting them, is actually a very proficient bird photographer. During the Queen’s long reign in the early years, the boredom of uncountable ocean voyages encouraged him to try his hand at photography.

He captured seabirds on the ocean on his camera which later led him to publish a book on birds called Birds from Britannia. This book portrays a collection of pictures of some of the most extraordinary birds which were all taken in locations near the ocean.

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney is an English songwriter and also the co-lead vocalist of the famous band, The Beatles. He lived on the outskirts of Liverpool as a child and used to go out on little ventures by foot to observe birds in their natural habitat.

He carried a little pocketbook to make little sketches of the birds he used to sight. Moreover, the famous song “Blackbird” by The Beatles was also an influence on his hobby of bird-watching.

Apart from them, there are also many who developed this hobby at a young age and have continued it to this date. 

Who Has Sighted The Most Birds?

In recent times, this 35-year old man has set the record of discovering 6,042 species of birds in just a year! TNoah Strycker currently holds the record for seeing the most birds in a single year. He has also written several books about birds which also contains a guide to help you bird-watch on your own.

Noah achieved this record in the Big Year birding competition which is immensely competitive. This competition involves sighting as many as you can while competing with others which means that you have to beat others at sighting birds. It is a very difficult job to do as you will need a great amount of dedication, time, and money to beat Noah’s record.

The Big Year competition takes place as an initiative from the American Birding Association although there are other Big Year competitions that take place as well. Noah entered the global Big Year competition. He had to spend a whole year traveling all over the world around various countries sighting rare and new species of birds to win this competition.

What Are Professional Bird Watchers Called?

Bird-watching means going out on ventures to enjoy watching various species of birds. People who enjoy this just as a hobby are called birdwatchers and people who do it as their profession are called ornithologists. Although, there are different names for birders such as a twitcher.

Bird watchers call themselves different names according to the level of knowledge they have about birds. The time these birders spend on sighting birds and researching their nature has an influence on the names they are given. 

Twitcher is usually a term used for people who travel long distances to sight a rare bird. Birders and avian enthusiasts prefer to be simply called birdwatchers. On the contrary, some birders don’t like to be called birdwatchers at all.

However, there is a difference between birdwatchers and ornithologists. Birdwatchers usually go in groups to observe various species of birds and study about them. Ornithologists, on the other hand, study birds as a profession. They usually focus on a specific kind of bird and research all the information they can find about them.

What Do You Need To Get Started On Bird-Watching?

All this information might intrigue a newfound interest in bird-watching in you. Well, if you’re wondering whether or not it is possible, the answer is yes, it is! To get started on bird-watching, all you will need are some field guides and binoculars. Below are some of the essential tips you need to know to get started birding on your own.

Get Some Decent Binoculars

You can usually find birds very far away, either sitting on the branch of a tree or flying in a flock in the sky. To watch birds from a distance, you will need to get binoculars that can adjust to different light settings so if you want to go bird-watching at night, your binoculars are still of use.

You may be able to watch birds from a distance but it is quite unlikely that you will be able to identify their species from far away. If you want to become an experienced birder or take it up as a profession, you have to get binoculars. So stop being lazy and go get one before you start your adventure. You don’t want to miss out on all the interesting antics the birds do.

Read Birding Blogs

There is nothing you have to worry about when you’re living in the 21st century, with all the information available on the internet. If you want to have basic knowledge before you step into this hobby, the easiest way to learn is by reading bird blogs.

Birding blogs educate you about different species of birds along with some funny content so that you don’t get bored reading. Some blogs also contain very well-written and informative articles about bird conservation from the best birders. However, there are so many articles on the internet to choose from, it might confuse you as to which one to read from.

Download A Field Guide

Nowadays, who needs to worry about carrying a big paper field guide when you have a smartphone! Exactly. You can download a field guide to help you tell directions to the bird you have targeted to watch.

These apps are always up to date and contain pictures to keep it interesting and easy for you. They also contain audio recordings so you don’t have to look at your phone every now and then. The voice will guide you with ease.

Find Other Local Birders

To make it easier, you can find other birders and connect with them. Connecting with experienced birders will help you advance your knowledge about local birds as well as the rare ones.

Moreover, you can also enjoy and keep yourself entertained if you go with a group of people, as you know that two is always better than one. These birders host small meetings for the amateur ones to connect and gain an opportunity and learn. These trips with birding professionals will speed up your process of learning.

Listen To Birding Podcasts

Listening to music while going bird-watching might sound fun, but it is wise for you to rather listen to birding podcasts instead. You can learn more about birds while out on your venture and it also keeps you entertained.

There are specific podcasts you can listen to such as Birdnote which focuses on a specific species of bird and all the relevant information you may need to know about that bird. It is a two-minute-long podcast so there is no possibility that it will bore you.

Dress Appropriate

Don’t let the weather at the start of the day fool you. It can start out sunny and end up in a huge thunderstorm. You can dress light but remember to take precautions such as an umbrella or a raincoat.

However, don’t take any heavy clothing in your bag. It will only slow you down and you will miss out on watching the birds. It is best to wear boots so you can easily walk around as sometimes you may even need to walk faster to not miss the sighting.

These are some of the basic steps you need to know before you go birding on your own. Although, there are still some other steps you should have information about to make your whole trip easier.

You can find famous bird watchers all throughout history as well as in recent years. Some were famous because of their passion for bird-watching while on the other hand, some celebrities happen to have a hobby as interesting as bird-watching alongside their many other hobbies.