I have cut back on driving for "a bird", especially if it's a bird that I've seen before. I never got into year listing, but there are lovely birds we like to see over and over.  It's not been just the gasoline expense, it's been the overall cost of living, with food prices going up and incomes "not"..  My love of my backyard birds and birding behavior as an interest mitigates the desire to "hit the road".  
  Those who bird in groups and carpool  have some help with some of the expense.
   My original philosophy re: birds still holds:  Birds are a part of the overall natural environment.  I seek outdoor experiences for all it offers and the birds are one part of that.When I camp, I may do some driving, but mostly I am walking. 

Jane Allen
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St. Louis County

On Thu, Feb 24, 2011 at 8:49 AM, Chase Darr <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Hey all,

I'm interested in finding out the board's take on how gas prices affect your
habits as birders.  I wasn't involved in a birding community during the last
"crisis" in 2008, so this is my first time feeling like I have to decide
whether or not it's worth it to go to travel to get those rare birds that
pop up.  Yes, it's possibly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but I'm a poor
grad student, given just enough to survive and not much more...when I then
have to choose between birding and eating because my fuel bill just shot to
$50 one-way...

Hopefully you can all appreciate how much more "economically troublesome" it
gets to bird when gas is so expensive.  I know for my part that going to
Eagle Bluffs drops my miles per tank by ~50-70 miles, a drop in gas mileage
from 32 mpg to 27 mpg just for one 2-3 hour trip!  I can only imagine what
SUVs would be like.

Maybe some of you are wealthy enough that you can afford big gas bills.
However, since our demographic is made up largely of grad students and
retirees, it may be more of an issue than we'd like to let on.  If gas
prices shoot to $4 or 5 per gallon as "some people" are predicting (see any
newspaper or news website's front page in the last week...and the fact that
gas prices jumped $0.15 overnight at the mention of political unrest in
Libya), we could really feel the pinch of our gas-guzzling hobby.  Parks
like Eagle Bluffs CA, Bradford Farms, Columbia Bottoms, and others that
pretty much require a vehicle to cover properly as well as parks that are
out of the way and require a road trip to just get to them might see less
traffic than they have in the past year or two.

So my question is this: how much do you think increasing gas prices affect
your "birding mentality"?  Do you bite the bullet and continue?  Do you make
less trips?  Make more effort to bird in groups to defray the cost?  Do you
alter your locations?

I don't mean to seem like a Debbie Downer.  In fact, you'll probably see
quite a few posts from me traveling to Eagle Bluffs over the next few months
just like last year...but you're d*** right I'm gonna be more conscious of
my fuel consumption and will be turning the car off when I stop to look at
that 5th flock of probably 20 or so mallards in the distribution channel...

Look forward to your comments/responses,
Columbia, Boone Co., MO
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The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
List archives: https://po.missouri.edu/archives/mobirds-l.html

The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
List archives: https://po.missouri.edu/archives/mobirds-l.html