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WildBird Editor's Note - Accidental Birder

By Amy K. Hooper

Amy K. Hooper
Amy K. Hooper, WildBird Editor 

I stumbled into birding 10 years ago this August. A coworker, June Kikuchi, asked me to join her on the WildBird staff, and that marked the beginning of my real education about wild birds.

Because of that happenstance introduction to the hobby, I consider myself an accidental birder. Rather than pursue information and a life list because of an internal motivation, I began learning about birds and birding because my job required it.

The phrase “accidental birder” has been adopted by other writers and bloggers. Maybe their use of the phrase stemmed from Anne Tyler’s “The Accidental Tourist” (Knopf, 1985).

When I stumbled across the Accidental Avian the other day, I had to claim it. We crossed paths online when a blogger’s link led to another blogger’s link that led to a retail site for handmade items.

The Accidental Avian stands about 4.5 inches tall and makes a wonderfully colorful addition to my work desk. It also turns out to be a great stress reliever, because I can squeeze its soft body repeatedly and without ill effects on it. (If you’d like one of your own, you can visit, register to create an account, search for the seller – neatlytangled – and purchase it for $10 plus $2 shipping.)

For many of us, birding turns out to be a great stress reliever. While at the office, I occasionally look out a second-floor window at the American Crows that regularly congregate in the parking lot at 3:30 p.m. Their antics intrigue and distract me.

If not for this job, I might not have become a birder and explored a fascination with raptors, which also intrigue and distract me. The annual birds of prey issue stands out as my favorite one to create, and I hope that you enjoy this issue as much as I enjoyed pulling it together.

No doubt our community includes many accidental birders. Do you count yourself in that group? If so, how’d you chance upon this activity? Please write to WildBird/Letters, PO Box 6050, Mission Viejo CA 92690-6050 or (subject line: Letters).

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WildBird Editor's Note - Accidental Birder

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