I wanted to come up with a Top 10 reasons why I bird post, but could only come up with 5. So, here goes. The Top 5 reasons why I bird:
1) The chase. Going out and looking for birds provides a dopamine rush that satisfies my hunting instinct. There is a lot of recent brain research to suggest that our brains are wired to get a thrill out of anticipating rewards. Some get their kick from shopping, I get it from looking for birds.
2) I like being outdoors. I must get additional brain chemical satisfaction from being outside.
3) Beyond just being outdoors, I like to feel connected to the world around me. By looking for birds, I have to place myself in their world. That makes me feel more connected. Without that connection, I feel incomplete.
4) I think, really, at this point I'm completely addicted. I think I've birded so much, and flooded my brain with so many nice chemicals during birding trips, that its hard to function without them!
5) If I can't be birding, then I can get a dopamine rush just anticipating birding. So, I'm always just one thought away from getting a wanting-to-go-birding high.
I wish there were more intellectual or socially-responsible answers to why I like to bird. But really, when it comes down to it, those answers would really just be me trying to justify my own addiction. So, the bottom line. Q: Why do I bird? A: Dopamine and probably a handful of other nice brain chemicals.