Top Ten Things Not to Do While Birdwatching

Funny Birds


The inspiration for this list is the fact that birds of all kinds are in the process of migration. Port Aransas is on the flight path for some beautiful species including the Whooping Crane. I thought I would start off with a little bird joke.

As migration approached, two elderly vultures doubted they could make the trip south, so they decided to go by airplane. When they checked their baggage, the attendant noticed that they were carrying two dead raccoons.

“Do you wish to check the raccoons through as luggage?” she asked.

“No, thanks,” replied the vultures. “They’re carrion.”*

*Courtesy of

Top Ten Things Not to Do While Birdwatching

10 If you are birdwatching, do not leave home without your species checklist. If you do, at best you will not know the species of birds in your area. At worst, you will broadcast to every watcher for ten miles that you have no idea what you are doing. (Which is the case right? Slick.)

9 If you are birdwatching, do not ask someone if you could borrow their binoculars. If you do, at best you will get a lecture on proper preparedness for birdwatching. At worst, the folks you ask will spread the word that you are an escaped mental patient. (Who else would ask for binoculars. It’s like using someone else’s toothbrush.)

8 If you are birdwatching, do not take a guess out loud as to the species of bird. If you do, and you are wrong, your fellow birders will pounce as if they are Panthers to correct you. At worst, the leader of the group will ask you kindly to sit at the edge of the road with the hopes you will be run over. (Man, these folks are serious)

7 If you are birdwatching, do not toss terms like mantle, bib, and flair around lightly. If you do, at best you will broadcast the fact that you should have stayed home. At worst, you might be responsible for that kindly old gent finally going postal after being so patient with you. (He is certainly agile with that cane isn’t he?)

6 If you are birdwatching, do not snicker at the apparel of your fellow birdwatchers. If you do, at best they all will be too busy to notice. At worst, they will all snicker at you when you need hospital care for the sunburn, chigger, and tick bites. (How’s that Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever treating you?)

5 If you are bird watching, do not make any sudden noises. If you do, at best you will capture the frown crown. At worst, your noise caused the rare Tillywinkle Warbler to take flight causing most of the group to miss the sighting. (Does that group murmuring sound like an old west posse?)

4 If you are bird watching, do not pull out a pastrami sandwich to munch on while looking at birds. If you do, at best your fellow birders will try to ignore you and the pastrami. At worst, the leader will offer a kindly suggestion about the appropriate place for that sandwich. (No one told you that eating and bird watching are not allowed. The location suggested for the sandwich sounded quite impractical didn’t it?)

3 If you are bird watching, do not yell “Tally Ho” when you sight a rare species. If you do, at best the bird will fly away. At worst, the group is not carrying a defibrillator to handle what could be resultant heart attacks. (Those old folks go down like ten-pins Hey Buster?)

2 If you are bird watching, do not offer your fellow watchers a pull from the old flask. If you do, at best they will try to lose you in the woods. At worst, just as you thought you were getting along, you realize the group is setting you up for an intervention. (After all, no self-respecting birder would chance anything that would interfere with seeing the birds. Therefore, you need help)

1 If you are bird watching, do not walk and watch at the same time. If you do, At best that hole you stepped in is only a few inches deep. At worst, you could walk off the end of the swamp pier and into the waiting jaws of “Old Hickory” the crocodile. (He gets, at least, one a month this way.)




  1. Oh how funny. This reminds me of the movie “The Big Year” with Steve Martin and Jack Black.

    Plus #1 reminds me of what my aunts said about their trip to the Grand Canyon. Their guide told them that people have actually fallen over the edge while trying to get a Selfie picture. Their so focused on the camera that they don’t realize how close to the edge they are. Yikes

    1. Although tragic there is some element of humor thinking of some self absorbed person taking a shot while taking a big step. Thanks for the comment and the vision.

  2. What lovely Monday morning fun, John. Thank you. 😀
    So #1 makes walking while birding more hazardous than walking while texting. o_O
    I’m sure I don’t get enough vegetables, so I really enjoyed the vulture joke. Seriously, I love corny jokes. I liked the picture too. It made me think of Rod Hull and Emu. Mega Monday hugs!

    1. Oh my Teagan. Your humor and mine are on the same level. The Emu/Rod Hull clip had me in stitches. Thanks for sharing. I never ever even heard of Rod Hull and now there is a whole new field of corn to husk. Hugs

      1. Really? I’m pleased to introduce you to Rod and Emu. I remember him on the afternoon talk shows I watched as a pre-teen and teen. (I was a weird kid, watching Merv Griffin after school in stead of cartoons…) Now I’m going to have to find out whatever happened to him. 😀

      2. We need to find out. I never had a chance to see shows in the daytime.

  3. Wow. Who would have thought birdwatching had so many rules and guidelines? People seem to take it really seriously.

    1. Yes they do. I would be totally banned from the sport.

      1. Me too. Didn’t think it was a sport though.

      2. I guess I should have called it a pastime.

      3. Eh, I’m sure things can get heated and competitive like sports.

      4. Yes. I could see granny do a chop block on some hapless soul who called a blackbird a crow.

      5. God help anyone who mixes up a hawk and a falcon. That’s when she pulls out the suplex through a table.

      6. Ha ha ha.You are right.

  4. I believe you have birds you call chickadees over there, but to us they are tits; blue tits, great tits, coal tits, long tail tits, you name it, we have a mildly smutty name for it.
    I’m considering publishing a bird watching book with a plain brown paper cover, called “The observers book of tits and boobies” just to see how many I can sell to non-ornithological readers.

    1. I see a best seller in the future. One bird that has always caused me to wonder is the Red Shafted Flicker.

      1. Yeah, you need to make sure you use the right font when typing “flicker”.

      2. You guys slay me… 😀

      3. It is a real bird sort of like a woodpecker (Ha ha ha) 😀 (can’t get away from it)

  5. I can definitely see #1 happening to me. I love to bird watch but I typically do it from the safety of my back porch.Have a great Monday, John!

    1. The nice thing about you back porch is you are not spending time with critical others.

  6. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    with top ten things not to do whiles birdwatching – the feathered variety but a couple of items on the list also apply to lads watching ‘birds’ for example a species checklist!! Brilliant as always John.

    1. Thank you, Sally. I hadn’t thought of the lad angle but found that a possible top ten list for the future. Your reblog was a nice thing to do. 🙂

      1. Very enjoyable post as always John. hugs

  7. OK, there’s another hobby I won’t take up in retirement. No Pastrami? What kind of heathens watch birds?

    1. i know right? Seems birds can detect when mammals swallow and think it its a sign of preparing to eat them. (drool)

  8. Heck with the birds, I want to see Old Hickory whilst enjoying my flask.

    1. There you go. Be careful.

      1. I’ll toss him a raccoon.

      2. There is a croc in the bird sanctuary here. Sometimes he wanders down the street and has to be herded back.

      3. That’s pretty cool. Maybe you’ll catch his picture for us one day.

      4. I’ll go do that. Good idea.

  9. Hilarious, John. My dad once told the guys he worked with that he saw a Rose-breasted Grosbeak in his backyard and they thought he was joking. The wouldn’t believe him. 😀 — Suzanne

    1. I think I would be skeptical myself. Thanks Suzanne

  10. Love that joke!

  11. Great advice for the uninformed! Who knew!

    1. Who knew indeed. Thanks

  12. I’ve never been officially bird watching, but this is a great list…especially number one! I can see how something like that might spoil one’s day.

    1. Yes. I could do that for sure. Thanks Debbie.

  13. Yup, at the computer again, but I did manage to spot lots of migrators at the feeder this morning. Have a Happy! 🙂

    1. Good for you Bette. Thanks for the visit.

  14. Very funny! Who knew there were so many bird watching rules? Tally ho! Love the photo too…you know us very well. I only bird watch from my living room looking out into the back yard. Have a good week!

    1. That is the safest place of all.

  15. Brilliant suggestions for the season. Consider submitting these to Audubon Society and other bird organizations. Here’s something for the good effort on the opening joke.

    1. Loved the rimshot. Thanks

  16. Amusing tips, leaves me wondering how many are due from being tested hehe, I love the image of someone shouting Tally-Ho while a flock of birds take flight

    1. I’m also the guy who tipped over a Mung vase while visiting a rich snob. (I have the mug shot to prove the outcome)

      1. Ouch this must have been some reaction

      2. The guy was a big name in advertising. No sense of humor.

  17. Number Eleven: Never wear a jacket made of bird seed.
    Trust me on this one…

    1. I think you paid the due on this one so I’ll take your word totally.

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