How to spread the word about birding? People are comfortable. They don't have time to start something completely new (they think). They won't go out of their way. Perhaps that is most compelling thing about becoming a birdwatcher through the combined use of a digital camera and Facebook. They can do it from their homes. The craving of likes and shares introduce you to birdwatching without having to join a club or being at a specific place at a specific time.
If we want birdwatching to spread I think one too a larger extent needs to bring birdwatching to the people than, as traditionally, trying to get people to come to birdwatching.
I am not saying that we should stop doing birding-festivals, guided walks, evening bird talks or other activities where people COME TO birding.
But what if we also started thinking of ways to bring birdwatching to the people where they still are in their comfort zone - just like Facebook is doing.
The recent Run for Birds I organized in Lima setting a route where one could hear and see birds that I pointed out on the run was one such example. Around 120 runners got a brief introduction to birdwatching. Many asked me questions. And several mentions of that movie with birders... (The Big Year).
A "run for birds" event in joint venture with the local running club, could easily be attached to any birding festival.
Another example was "Peru se Despierta con Las Aves" (Peru wakes up with the birds) last weekend. Birders arranged birdwatching activities as close to their home as possible and invited neighbors to join. It is so easy to birdwatch close to your home.
We also arranged a small contest - a photo marathon of 42 easy fixed bird-species and a half marathon with any 21 of those 42 species to be photographed. Many participants did not even have binoculars - less did they know all the birds they saw, but as they could join free guiding they would get some of the birds this way.
So what could you do to bring birdwatching to the people? Birding at work during lunch break, or before or after work - near work? Invite your neighbors to a potluck, a bottle party or BBQ while checking out your feeders?
Or in Pledge To Fledge spirit, take a non-birding friend or neighbor to a place where there are birds to watch, but not necessarily a birding site - but rather a golf course, a beach, mushroom hunt, some trekking or something else that is not completely new to that person.
Prepare a list with photos of 20 birds that you likely will see. Make a challenge to photograph each of the 20.
More ideas how to bring birdwatching to the people in their comfort zones?