Please, choose your words carefully

I always enjoy reading Dan Cristol in The Virginia Gazette, but was disappointed by the choice of words in his recent column (Scientists use surveys to sample birds, June 8, 2019).

After describing the process of estimating bird populations by listening to and counting their calls and songs, Cristol writes, "Ageing birders need not apply, because hearing acuity is extremely important for this task."

There is no "e" in aging, but there is one in ageism, a prejudice that, likely inadvertently, comes through in Cristol's column. It would be more accurate to say, "Those with impaired hearing acuity need not apply."

I happened to participate in a bird walk yesterday morning, and was amazed by the ability of many older participants to identify calls and songs (49 species in all).

A lesson for us all: words matter.

Jim Easton

James City County

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