While birding clubs are a great way to find other passionate birders, enjoying non-birding events together can help cement the friendships that bring birders together. But what types of social events can you plan, whether you have started your own birding club or a part of a National Audubon Society chapter or other local group?
Why Get Together?
Joining a group of like-minded birders is more than just finding partners to go birding with, it is about finding friends and sharing interests. But outside the best local birding hotspots, why is it important to get together with your birding club? Social events, activities and parties can do many things, including…
- Help members discover common interests other than birding, giving them opportunities to share additional activities together as friends.
- Explore the diversity of those who love birds by bringing together birders of different backgrounds and experience levels in ways beyond simply birding.
- Share the love of birding with others, as many social activities include spouses, friends and family members who may not be initially interested in birding.
- Spread the word about the birding club to the community, because businesses, organizations and media outlets will notice large group activities of different types.
First and foremost, however, social events are a great way for birding friends to spend time together without peering through binoculars or craning necks for the next great sighting.
Birding Social Event Ideas
Depending on the size of the group, the interests of its members and the local resources and facilities available, there are many entertaining options for social activities for birding clubs. Popular and easy to plan activities include:
- Movies: Enjoy a movie night out with birding friends to a local theater, or opt for an at-home movie presentation with homemade treats. Consider a bird-themed movie such as The Big Year, Happy Feet or The Birds, or just go to a newly released and highly rated movie as friends.
- Book Club: Birding can be done in the pages of a book, and a birding club can easily incorporate a book club element to their social calendar. Choose how-to birding books to sharpen your skills in between field trips, or opt for more relaxed and entertaining birding fiction.
- Casual Competition: Birders who keep life lists can be competitive by nature, so why not turn that competitive spirit into a fun challenge for the group? Try a fun bowling night, softball game, board game night, card games or other fun competitions everyone can get into.
- Meals: A monthly dinner can be a fine social tradition for any birding club. A picnic or barbecue, trying a new restaurant or planning a pot luck meal can help bring birders together with their appetite for good food in addition to good birds.
- Holidays: There is no better time to get together with friends than for holidays, and birding friends are no different. Plan a holiday party, open house or special event to celebrate the season, or opt for a monthly birthday party for the group. Cookie parties, gift exchanges or decorating a Christmas tree for the birds can all be great parts of a birding holiday party.
- Bird Holidays: If traditional holidays are too crowded with family and other commitments, aim to celebrate birding holidays with birding friends. International Vulture Awareness Day (first Saturday in September), John James Audubon's birthday (April 26) or even quirky holidays like Draw a Bird Day (April 8) can be fun occasions to celebrate with a birding club.
- Sightseeing: While birders regularly get out to local birding hotspots, another type of social activity can involve visiting other local hotspots such as museums, zoos, national monuments, historic sites or other features that are often overlooked. And there might even be a bird or two there, in some form or other!
- Presentations: Regular meetings that don't involve field trips are popular options for many birding clubs. Presentations could involve trip reports from a member recently returned from an exotic birding destination, a report from a local wildlife official about seasonal birds, an identification workshop from a top birder or a planned bird release from a bird rescue.
With so many different activity options to choose from, it's easy for every birding club to schedule some social events for members to enjoy.
Be a Friend
No matter what type of event you plan to enjoy with your birding friends, remember to be open to new activity suggestions and choose events many different people can enjoy. Sharing the coordination and setup of events will ensure that everyone stays involved, and the more people who enjoy the group, the more the birding club will grow.
Photo – Bowling Alley © Madzia Bryll