Birding is the opposite of being at the movies—you’re outside, not sitting in a windowless box; you’re stalking wild animals, not looking at pictures of them. You’re dependent on weather, geography, time of day—if you miss the prothonotary warbler, there isn’t a midnight showing. On the other hand, birding, like moviegoing, is at heart voyeuristic, and you can’t do it without technology—to bring birds closer you must interpose binoculars between yourself and the wild world. To find them in the wild, you need planes, trains, automobiles, and motorboats. Birds are natural; birders aren’t.
Jonathan Rosen, The New Yorker