I always thought myself a birdwatcher, but according to the below explanation, I’m really far from either a birdwatcher or a twitcher. So for now, let’s say I just like photographing and identifying birds… especially when they are right in front of my window.
Any serious birdwatcher will take great exception to being called a twitcher. There’s a world of difference between the two. Birdwatching entails making careful notes about the birds one sees, even if it’s the most common, boring bird imaginable. It entails having the greatest respect for them and making strenuous efforts to minimise disturbance when making observations. These observations then contribute towards our knowledge of birds, their distribution and nesting habits. Such information as is gathered can tell us if the bird population is increasing, stable or falling and can help with their conservation. Twitchers are only interested in adding to the list of rare birds which they have seen. With their intelligence network, the are ready to set out at the drop of a hat at any time of the day or night to travel large distances for the prospect of seeing a migrant lesser spotted scrub warbler, or whatever. This poor bird, not normally a visitor to the UK has been blown off course by a freak storm. Already exhausted from its ordeal it finds itself unable to feed because it is surrounded and harried at every turn by hundreds of anoraks sporting high-powered telescopes; like a horde of press photographers fighting for a better view. The bird inevitably dies. Because this activity is extremely competitive; the aim being to have the longest list and to have seen the rarest bird, twitchers are highly stressed, nervous individuals. The very mention of some exotic avian delight, a purple peruvian rock thrush for example, sends them into paroxisms. They literally twitch; hence “twitchers”.
Terence Hollingworth, Blagnac France
Source: The Guardian