Saturday, July 07, 2012

Tips for Birders

In reply to a request for comments about birding, I wrote this on someone else's blog. I thought you, my voracious reader... readers, might find it fun.

Keep in mind that "comfortable clothing" for birding means stuff you can hike in, go thru shrubbery in, wade a creek in. Story I read/heard years ago had a young woman arrive in low-heeled office shoes. For her, those were "comfortable".

Keep a sense of humor. Bird names are daft. Early on, bird names were given by people who only had a dead bird to look at. Orange-crowned warblers are green.

Keep a sense of humor. Birders are daft. We have our own local names for things. Getting hung up on correct names is likely to cause the group to find every nickname for every bird on the local list. We did that to one poor fussy "perfect namer". 'Bout drove him nuts. Birders will translate, if you look puzzled.

Keep a sense of humor. The minute you bring up your binoculars, the bird will fly off. And just because everybody else can see the bird does not mean you're either blind or stupid. Half a dozen of us were admiring a yellow-breasted chat, including me for whom most birds have an invisibility cloak. The walk leader, a man of some 30 years' birding, couldn't see it. We spent 15 minutes pointing out branches, and "left at the split, then out two feet", and he still never saw the chat. It happens.

Birding will change how you view the world. Going out early in the morning, I don't hear amorphous bird sounds. I hear the different voices, the jays, the finches, the warblers. I see trees and bushes not as green stuff planted in a yard, but as something the robins like, the hummers will feed from, the mockers will nest in. I was talking with a friend on the phone. I suddenly asked, "Did you just walk outside?" "Yes... why?" "Because I can hear the woodpecker."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Be prepared to see stuff you never really noticed before.
There was a bird's nest on a window ledge in the LA Civic Center, and they were about to clean and paint the building. The city did its required check by a biologist, who pronounced it a crow's nest. A birder saw it, looked at the birds, and realize it was a raven's nest.