PokemonGo and Birding

It has been commented many times before that birdwatching is like Pokemon . Or Pokemon is like birding. I’ve gotten those comments when I would explain what birdwatching is, and I guess it makes the activity more relate-able especially to the, eherm, younger generations. And now the similarities are becoming more obvious since I actually started playing PokemonGo. If birding is looking for birds in the wild, PokemonGo is looking for Pokemon… everywhere.

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My brother’s Pokemon cards from his childhood serve as a “field guide” for Pokemon!

Last Saturday, I joined my brother and his girlfriend find Pokemon in the nearby Quezon Memorial Circle. As I was preparing my bag, I realized just how similar it was with birding. There is specific “gear” to be used and prepped beforehand and this takes some significant amount of planning. It felt like I was packing my birding bag… but it was actually my PokemonGo bag! *gasp*

So, these are the most basic things that go in my birding bag. These are my “essentials” for a morning of birding in a nearby site: notebook and pen (to record and list my sightings),binoculars (to spot birds), field guide (to help identify birds), and camera.

Birding bag contents (very basic)

Now, these were the items I packed in my PokemonGo bag for a few hours of afternoon “hunting”: smart phone (to play the game), pocket wifi (to connect and play the game), powerbanks (to charge both phone and pocket wifi), cable, cash (for snacks), coffee shop cards (just in case we decide to stay at a Starbucks which is most probably a PokeStop and has at least one lure.)

PokemonGo bag (somewhat basic)

In birding, there are common, uncommon, and rare species and it’s also the same with Pokemon. Different birds are found in different habitat and the same goes for different kinds of Pokemon. I’m still learning though and I have yet to use the proper names of the different Pokemon I catch.

When I started playing and my brother would announce “Ate, Pidgey!” I would excitedly ask “The sparrow or the raptor?!? THE SPARROW OR THE RAPTOR?!?” But now, I can tell the two apart (and not get too excited because it turns out they are pretty common Pokemon.) It’s just, I guess, like telling a Colasisi from a Guaiabero… may appear similar to the “untrained eye” but completely different.

Yes, I’ve tried doing both birding and playing PokemonGo at the same time. Quite challenging for me, mainly because I am not a big multi-tasker, so paying attention to too many things at the same time is not fun at all. In the Quezon Memorial Circle, I saw Pied Trillers, Yellow-vented Bulbuls, and Olive-backed Sunbirds while catching Horsea, Staryu, and Pinsir! Not doing that again!

They call the Quezon Memorial Circle “lure heaven” =P

In birding, the motivation is to see as many birds as you can. This means you have to go to different places in search of the birds. In the world of PokemonGo, aside from “catching” all the Pokemon, there are “evolutions” and “battles” to be considered (which I don’t plan on really doing.) There are a lot of PokeStops in parks which gets people walking around outdoors in search of different Pokemon (aside from malls and other busy areas.)

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Birdwatchers in Candaba.
PokemonGo players in Quezon Memorial Circle.

I guess in our family, my “influence” as a birder has seeped into our playing PokemonGo. My brother asks me constantly if the most recent Pokemon I’ve caught was a “lifer” which is birding lingo for a bird you’ve seen for the first time. And, the rarities also matter more, just like in birding =P

My latest Pokemon “lifer” is a Hitmonlee which, according to my brother, is pretty rare! =)

I will continue playing PokemonGo for sure. It’s a lot of fun and gives somewhat the same thrill as finding birds. Somewhat. But… my heart still calls out for the wild and for the birds. Time to heed that call =) It’s been a verrrrry long time.