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What Are Bird Watchers Called? – 7 Terms to get to Know

Written by Clinton Atkins / Fact Checked by George Dukes

what are bird watchers called

For centuries, humans have been watching birds from their yards, in the forests, parks, and anywhere avians stay. Bird lovers do this to identify bird species, record important details, share their hobbies, and even contribute to science.

If you’re new to this activity, you might wonder “what are bird watchers called?” There are a couple of names that bird enthusiasts are called, and we will discuss them all in this post. One thing is for sure, observing birds is quite fun.

What Is Birdwatching?

Before we dig deeper into the bird watcher name, let us gather some information first about birdwatching.

Birdwatching is also referred to as birding, which simply means that avian lovers spend time to watch birds. It is a popular hobby that brings people together.

Different Names for Bird Watchers


People who love watching birds are in a way collectors. They take photos, document their adventures, and share their hobbies with other bird enthusiasts. But what are bird watchers called? Let’s go and find out.

Name #1: Ornithologists

Ornithologist is a name for bird watcher who studies different avian species for professional purposes. This person may or may not have a PhD in biology, but bachelor or master degrees are often a must. Ornithologists are paid to watch birds in order to gather new information about avians.

Name #2: Bird Watchers

Bird watchers are people who consider birdwatching a hobby, and nothing more. They are amateurs who belong to the beginner level, and their knowledge about birds is just enough to satisfy their hobby.

Bird watchers typically watch avians in their homes as well as in parks. They usually don’t invest in their hobby such as buying bird watching equipment and tools.

Name #3: Twitchers

Bird watchers are called many names, and one of those is twitchers. These hobbyists are willing to spend money on adventures to different places to watch birds in their natural habitats.

Twitchers love to chase birds, and so they are extremely knowledgeable about their favorite bird species. Twitchers’ enthusiasm may seem like an obsession to other people.

Name #4: Birders

Birder is another bird watching term for people who love watching avians. Birders are committed to their hobby, enough to purchase a couple of tools for birdwatching.

These avian hobbyists know more about birds compared to the typical bird watchers. However, they are more passive in their activities compared with twitchers.

Name #5: Listers

Another bird watching name is lister. This person makes an extensive list of birds as they perform birdwatching. Listers are known to be obsessed with their list of avians, and they do whatever it takes to constantly update their lifelist.

Name #6: Dude

A dude is a casual bird watcher who likes watching birds, but it is not a priority for them. They watch avians when the weather is good, and they rarely go to distant spots.

Dudes enjoy watching common fowls, but they are not well-versed in bird identification and other complicated information about birds.

Name #7: Protobirder

A protobirder is a new term for a person who enjoys birdwatching. Protobirders claim to be super knowledgeable about birds, although whether that’s the case is debatable. This term may be new, but it is starting to be used more often in the birdwatching communities from all over the world.

Tools Needed for Birdwatching


The best time for birdwatching is during the spring season. At this time, birds appear in higher numbers, become more vocal, and even start mating.

On the other hand, when winter comes, the migration of the birds is enjoyable to look at. And once the birds found their spots in the trees, it is a great time for the bird watchers to give in to their hobbies.

For the purpose of birdwatching, there are tools needed for the bird watchers to indulge in their passion.

  • Binoculars – These are the best tools to see birds from far away, especially when the nests are far from the ground. A binocular is made of two telescopes, and it is designed to fit the eyes of the users.
  • The lenses of the telescopes magnify the birds, and magnification levels from 7x to 10x are the most popular.
  • Telescopes – they are designed to look at astronomical objects, but telescopes can be used to watch birds. They offer superior magnification compared to binoculars.
  • However, telescopes are heavy, and they are good for birdwatching in one place only. The good news is, telescopes can be used for digiscoping, which means bird watchers can take modern photos using their cameras.
  • Field Guide – this is a reference book that contains images and background information about birds.
  • You should pick guides with drawings instead of photos, since the latter’s digital editing can make birds look unrealistic. I also recommend sticking with region-specific books at first; for example, select Hawaii bird guides if you live in this state.
  • Birding Vest – all dedicated bird watchers from all over the world have their own birding vest. It is a tool that is used to carry whatever is needed for birdwatching. There are many sizes and designs for birding vests, so there are many options.
  • Brimmed Hat – For a birder, a brimmed hat is required in order to keep the sun from obstructing the view of the birds. The hat also serves as good protection against skin cancer.
  • Bird Song App – using the field guide is always a good thing, but many twitchers prefer to listen to the bird songs. A bird song app or a CD is helpful in determining the chanting of different bird species.
  • Birdwatching Journal – twitchers usually keep a journal about all the birds they have seen, and when and where. The birdwatching journal is like a diary that is treasured by the bird watchers. In many cases, twitchers even share their journals with other bird enthusiasts.


Now that you know different names for bird watchers, you can decide which hobbyist you will become or simply have the knowledge on what names to call bird enthusiasts. The good news is no matter what kind of bird watchers we are, our love of birds connects us.

Kindly share this post to your fellow bird lovers. And please feel free to let us know what you think. We appreciate your time reading this, and we hope you enjoy this post.

5/5 - (2 votes)

Clinton Atkins


Hi, I'm Clinton. Rocky and I became friends after a birdwatching trip with our new group. And we have been enjoying every adventure together. When he told me the idea of establishing a site that shares our experiences and fun, I immediately agreed. After trials and errors, here we have Thayerbirding.

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