All,
 
Not that we should ever feel the need "justify" our . . . er . . . well . . . obsession of birding (some call it a hobby, but really now. . . ), I feel that with our reports to the database not only help our MDC/DNR (as well as other organizations) it also help others in the non-birding sector somewhat understand that our efforts aren't totally of a selfish nature . . . even though they are, to a degree. We can claim our status as citizen scientists, which I believe is the term I've heard given to those that help with CBC's and these type of data gathering efforts.
 
Speaking out of turn and of a selfish nature; we WANT to, we HAVE to see that specially colored bird, or painstakingly search over a field to identify the singing LBJ, or brave cold temps in the dead of winter to sort through hundreds of gulls to locate one wayward coastal or arctic gull. We also enjoy sitting back listening to the birds' songs, watching their antics and interactions with other creatures and species, relaxing in the knowledge that, yes, today was a good day in the field, not having seen "only the regulars", but having been out in the field doing that which we love! We relish in observing a new species in our backyard, at our feeder, in our home counties, in MO, or at our favorite haunts be that a conservation area, state park, or a mud puddle in an abandoned field.
 
Simply put, we bird because we LOVE to. If by reporting our findings to a database where important decisions regarding habitat planning/restoration, funding, etc. can be made by organizations, that's a feather in everyone's proverbial cap. Kudos to all involved at every level . . . most importantly though, to the wildlife that hopefully benefits from all our continued efforts! And to agree with several others, by reporting to the database, I feel that I (if even in a small way) could be contributing to a larger cause.
 
Back to the point. After being asked, "You do what? . . . Why?", I have noticed several people's furrowed brow lessen when I offer to them the explanation that I observe the species of birds and their numbers then report them to the database for MDC/DNR/ASM. I guess it seems more palatable to them if we aren't out there on "our own time" bird watching.
 
For what it's worth, my two cents.
 
Also, Blue-winged Teal numbers are slowly on the rise here in the Bootheel.
 
Awesome Fall Birding to you all!

Chris Barrigar
Bloomfield, MO
Stoddard Co.
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