In Conservation With… interview

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Arjan Dwarshuis

My BIG Year

Birdwatching is Arjan’s greatest passion. It gives him enormous fulfilment in life, takes him to the most beautiful and remote places in this world allowing him to understand nature and all its complexities in a much better way. His fascination with birds began when he was just a couple of months old starting mumbling his first words. He called his stuffed toy animal Pica pica, which he later realised was the Latin name for Magpie. When he was a toddler whilst other kids drew houses and cars, he drew birds.

Arjan would stare in awe at the feathered wonders that came to feed at his bird table in his back garden. He never stopped trying to identify the birds that he saw and now, more than 25 years later, he set a world record for the number species seen in one year, wrote two books about birding, made a documentary film, and committed his life to conserving birds and the ecosystems on which they depend. Most people were not lucky enough to be struck by the “birding virus” at such a young age.

Arjan’s mission is to bring out that inner naturalist that lives in all of us. He strongly believes that people first need to fall in love with nature. Only then will they fully realise how important it is for wildlife to have a natural environment to exist within, to have food to eat, water to drink and air to breathe.

Talking with the record-breaking world lister