Young birders of the female flavor have always been scarce. Of the seven young birder programs I’ve attended, my high count for female participants is 3. This year, no females applied for either Tropicbird event, and only two are currently signed up for the ABA’s Camp Colorado. I have given this topic a lot of thought: why are there so few female young birders? Why do there seem to be less female birders in general, even among adults?
Much of the birding world is driven by listing and competition. Perhaps female birders are less inclined to this testosterone driven elbowing (feel free to contend). Are girls less interested in birding as a sport or game, and more interested in scientific or research aspects? From another viewpoint: our society and culture raises girls with the idea that they should be concerned with indoor activities and appearances. I know many people who won’t put their foot outside because “there are too many bugs” or the wind might tamper with their hair. We have been taught that there is something unappealing about going outside and “getting dirty”.
Here’s my question for you: where are all the female young birders? Do you have any ideas or thoughts on getting girls involved in more group birding activities?
Young Birders Conference 2006, Colorado, Photo courtesy of Lori Fujimoto