Vincent Mistretta recently had a thought-provoking post asking: Is there a difference between "birding" and "bird photography"? He goes on to explain that they "are NOT the same thing" as they generally require completely different preparation and frame of mind in the field. I get where he is coming from and agree with his explanations, yet I see "bird photography" as being one of the many fun activities under the greater birding umbrella. Rather than try to separate various bird related activities into separate hobbies or professions, I think of them as interrelated activities as part of the greater whole of "birding". From professional scientists studying minute details to the young child feeding birds in the backyard...from the obsessive Big Year lister to the patient and dedicated bird artist...these are all birders in my mind.
There are of course extreme enthusiasts within each of the elements of birding. And there are some people who might claim to only belong to one of the categories and separate themselves - take themselves out from underneath the birding umbrella if you will. I suppose it doesn't really matter how people define themselves. I'd just hate to see a bird photographer feel excluded from wonderful world of birding in which he or she rightly belongs. I'm all for greater unity, cooperation, and inclusiveness, because each aspect of birding is fun!