I guess I am a birder.
I never set out to be one, it just worked out that way. I'm good with this, I enjoy it very much. Besides, what's not to like about birds,.. ancient, beautiful,.. flying.
What is it that sets a course in the river of one's life? Purpose? Chance? Destiny? Like so much of our short existence, the answer is too buried in complexity to understand. The clearest memory I have from early life that might have added that necessary and infinitesimal quantum of momentum can be blamed on my cousin. As with anyone who comes into your young life from far away, he was "exotic" and interesting. He was also a birder, "ornithologist" as he called it. He showed me his National Audubon Society Field Guide to Birds, probably the first book I took seriously. Don't get the wrong impression, it wasn't like I took up the habit and from then on and never stopped. There have been vast dry stretches,... Life gets in the way as it were. But birds have always been an interest.
When digital photography became mainstream, I picked up birding again but this time more seriously. I owe a great deal to people who I walk with when I go out, they are patient and kind teachers. Because I am more of a photographer than birder, I don't keep a traditional "life list", mine takes the form of pictures and is at the link below, one photo per species. The other link goes to my general bird collection.