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Why We Travel


What did you do this past weekend? If you’re in the USA, you probably observed Memorial Day. And it’s not unlikely that your Memorial Day weekend activities included travel.

According to the American Automobile Association, 36.1 million people traveled at least 50 miles in the USA this past weekend. That’s more than 10% of the U.S. population. For the subset of U.S. residents who are birders, I bet the number was closer to 25%.

I have two questions:

1. Did you travel at least 50 miles for birding this past weekend?

2. What kind of birding did you do this past weekend?

If you’re wondering where I’m coming from with these questions, here’s a link to my essay “Why We Travel,” which appeared earlier this spring in the ABA’s new magazine, Birder’s Guide. The basic message I tried to get across in my essay is this: There is no One True Way for birders to travel. Your cup of tea may not float my boat.


PageI traveled more than 50 miles for birding this past weekend. I did it my way. But let’s hear from you. How did you do it? Where did you go, how did you get there, who were your companions, and what did you see?

And I have one final, freighted question: What were the ethical dimensions, if any, of your birding travel this past weekend?

No need to limit this to birders in the USA. ABA members and other birders in Canada, Mexico, Britain, and anywhere else are heartily encouraged to contribute to this discussion.

Looking forward to hearing from you!



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Ted Floyd

Ted Floyd

Editor, Birding magazine at American Birding Association
Ted Floyd is the Editor of Birding magazine, and he is broadly involved in other programs and initiatives of the ABA. He is the author of more than 100 magazine and journal articles, and has written four recent books, including an ABA title, the ABA Guide to Birds of Colorado. Floyd is a frequent speaker at birding festivals and state ornithological society meetings, and he has served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations. Mainly, he listens to birds at night.
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