Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. In the late1800s, bird-watching was done without field guides, usually without binoculars, and often with a shotgun. Good field guides didn't appear until 1934. It was the custom to go birding after Christmas dinner and this meant going out with friends and guns and to see who could shoot the most birds. 'If it flies, it dies' was the order of the day. But times were changing; there was also a conservation movement afoot. On Christmas Day in 1900, Frank Chapman took friends on an alternative bird count; an effort to see how many kinds of bids they could count in a single day without shooting them. The results were widely publicized and Christmas bird-counts boosted the popularity of bird-watching, now called 'birding'. Today, birding is a billion dollar business and local communities are learning of its economic potential. This weekend, Southwest Florida joins the ranks of communities hosting a birding festival. The Second Annual Southwest Florida Birding Festival will be hosted by Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve on the road to Marco Island near Naples. Join the fun. Find out what birding is all about. On the internet, check rookerybay.org.'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.