Birding Despite Disability

Obsessions Don't Care About Limitations


Here is something wonderful: a US non-profit dedicated to removing barriers and improving accesibility for everyone that wants to be out birding, called Birdability. This newly-minted charitable organization has fiscal sponsorship from the Travis Audubon chapter based in Austin, Texas and so shares in their 501(c)(3) status. I recently had the pleasure of hving a zoom meeting the group’s coordinator, Freya McGregor. She is an Occupational Therapist with a background in low vision and blindness, so my blog had caught her attention. Their mission is very broad, however, as they aim to help individuals who face a wide variety of challenges. Quoting from their site:

Birdability focuses on removing barriers to access for birders with mobility challenges, blindness or low vision, intellectual or developmental disabilities (including autism), mental illness, being Deaf or Hard of Hearing and other health concerns.
Accessibility challenges are the difficulties someone experiences while using the physical or social environment when engaging in a meaningful activity… in this case, birding!

If you have a moment, please have a look at their site. There are a number of simple ways to help, such as by contributing a report to the Birdability Map. This map, facilitated by the National Audubon Society, this is a growing, invaluable resource for documenting the accesibility of birding locations. Anyone can submit a review of where they’ve been birding, and the submission page guides you through it all quite easily. Their stated hope is that “… submitting to this page will become as standard as submitting a bird list after a bird outing!” Based on quick look at the map as of today, it looks like they already have contributions from almost every state, and the effort is not limited to the US, either. So please add your favorite birding spot!

Map of North America showing yellow diamonds to mark birding locations.
Birdability Map example

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