Mobility impairment should not be a barrier to those who want to get outside. But information on how accessible parks, hiking trails, and birding locations are, is frequently incomplete or non-existent, making it difficult for people who have mobility challenges to find places to bird.
Note: The Prime Desert Woodland Preserve is accessible to birders who are in wheelchairs
Birdability seeks to identify accessible birding sites nationwide so people with accessibility challenges can quickly, safely and easily get outside and experience the joy of nature.
Inclusive Birdability Communication and Language Use Tips
Language, and the words we choose to use, is powerful. You can include (or exclude) someone just by using the wrong word. And if you are not feeling comfortable about which word to use, you can feel awkward… which makes it awkward for the person you’re interacting with too.
Clear, inclusive, appropriate, inoffensive language is important, and if agreed upon and used broadly can help everyone understand and feel included. Below are some suggestions of which words to use, and which words to avoid. Generally, person-first, enabling language is preferred.Describe someone as “a person with a vision impairment”, rather than “a visually impaired person”. State that someone is a “wheelchair user” (ie, a person who uses a wheelchair to get around), rather than saying they are “wheelchair bound” (which can imply that without a wheelchair they can do nothing… which is almost never accurate).
Pileated Woodpecker in Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Florida. Photo: Liz Bossoli