Top Ten Things Not to Do While Birdwatching

Top Ten things not to do

This post was originally run on April 11th, 2016. I hope you enjoy it.

The inspiration for this list is the fact that birds of all kinds are in the process of migration and spring has sprung.  I thought I would start off with a little bird joke.

Vultures
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 http://Hungarianbirdwatching.com

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 about 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 and dark, 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, right, 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.)

 

73 comments

  1. Dear John
    Great! We live in birdwatcher country – Cley is called “The Mecca of Birdwatching”. Very important is greeting everyone you meet with “What have you spotted?”
    Wishing you a wonderful week
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Klausbernd. We used to live on a migration flyway on the Gulf coast. It was like being in a railway station watching the travelers come and go. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love these! (Even the vulture joke.) 😀 😀 😀 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like that joke the first time around so I left it in. Thanks, Liz.

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  3. These are great!🦅

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    1. Thak you, Jill. I thought you would like them.

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  4. Never realized how difficult birdwatching was. It’s intense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is. Many a white hair has been lost in the pursuit of a sighting. Thanks, Charles.

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  5. “They’re carrion.” – saw it coming but haven’t laughed like that in a while!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was one you could see for a mie but then who cares it is funny. Thanks, Steve.

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  6. I didn’t know enough about birdwatching to agitate Tiny, but then I realized he wasn’t here today!! You teach me something though, I’m wondering why no pastrami sandwich – there’s nothing crunchy and noisy on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The garlic smell woud drive the wild beasts from the forest and certainly your fellow birdwatchers. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahhhh, you see I didn’t know enough to comment. But now I’ve learned something.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Mostly the humans would get upset thinking the garlic would drive the birds away. Nonsense.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Since I refer to most things with wings as “birdie birds” I probably wouldn’t be welcome in the group. I wouldn’t want to end up in the jaws of Old Hickory. Great list, John. I hope your week is off to a good start. Tally Ho!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dan. I hope yours is off to a good start as well. Your post this morning was terrific.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. OK. You started it.

    A mother gull was quite unhappy with her son. He’d been dating a bird of a different species; a lovely graceful tern. She spent hours trying to educate him about the good qualities of girl gulls, and why he should choose one of his own kind for a mate.

    The young gull was adamant, and insisted that love would conquer all. “Just give me a single irrefutable reason to make a different choice!” he said. His mother looked him in the eye and said, “One good tern deserves another.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Groan. A woodpecker goes into a bar and asks,”Where’s the bar tender.”

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  9. With this post, John, I ws thinking of our visit lately to the birding center in Port A. and the alligator we saw there. So for me THE most important thing not to do would be fall off the boardwalk. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. This was written while I lived in Port Aransas and was thinking of the same thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Gwen M. Plano · ·

    Great post, John. I’m not an “official” birdwatcher, but I live in an area where all shades and sizes fill the sky. It is magical. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  11. A great list to recycle, John. And you just reminded me that I need to order that pair of binoculars I keep forgetting to get until I need them. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. The funny thing about not having them is you will miss a sighting of a lifetime.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. They can be a persnickety bunch those avid bird watchers. I just walk along, nod and thank them for pointing out such and such 😉 Outside of blue jay, cardinal, robin and sparrow… I’m at a loss!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a book and I’m at a loss too. Thanks, Dale.

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      1. You’re ahead of me, then!!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. D.L. Finn, Author · ·

    Good list, John! I have to be careful with #1, I’m always looking around and not paying attention to where I’m walking:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes be careful. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Love the vulture joke, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha. I like it too. Thanks, Teri

      Liked by 1 person

  15. There is bird watching and then there is bird watching. The rules do change with the situation. Magee Marsh is a birding area on the south shore of Lake Erie. The warblers pause there during migration to feed and rest before continuing north. There is a mile or so of boardwalk that meanders through the woods and wetlands where one can see the warblers. During the height of the migration the number of weekend birders rivals the number of warblers. All of the rules are completely and thoroughly viliorated abused and otherwise spun folded and mutilated. And the warblers could not and do not give a damn as they flit from one tree to another chowing down on the bugs. Who knows they just might be people watching ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wonder if the Warblers have rules too. I think flitting from tree to tree can be distracting to other warblers.

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  16. Very amusing…the post AND the comments:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Becky.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m still chuckling over the Vulture joke. Carrion! lol …groan. Great post, John.😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Soooz.

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  18. I’m still chuckling over the vulture joke, too! Love it 🙂 And number 1 on your list would be the worst case scenario if the birder is in Florida 😉

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  19. Great blast from the past, John!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Sheesh , , , who knew bird watchers were such a tough community, even if they do go down like bowling pins. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I’m so glad you reposted this, John. Love the pastrami sandwich and the Tally Ho. I also heard that birders drive a Subaru. Who knew?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jennie.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, John.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. I didn’t realize bird watchers concerned themselves with their apparel. Other than having a good hat, I mean.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well some rlly aren’t in it for the birds.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d be in it for Happy Hour. As with most everything.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I knew you’d understand.

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  23. petespringerauthor · ·

    I had to laugh at your comment about birdwatchers. My parents were avid birdwatchers, and there was practically hell to pay if someone misidentified a bird.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, indeed. “Drive the charlatans out.” 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  24. and the most important, — do not pretend you know all Latin names for the birds or they are your friends who visited you last winter lol mmm, what I often do… 😂😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha. “Oh look. It’s Vulturius Roadkillitus. My friend from last year. I named him Oscar.”

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out John Howell’s TOP TEN THINGS NOT TO DO WHILE BIRDWATCHING from this post on his blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing, Don.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

  26. “Look, it’s a goose.” Followed by, “Sorry buddy. I didn’t know she is your wife.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha. The last words of the goose caller.

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  27. That ostrich face is hilarious! I do bird-watch out my back window. We chose our lot here because it was next to some trees so we get all sorts. Of course, our bird feeder and birdbath are prohibited by the HOA, but we ignored it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good for you. I dislike HOA’s and vowed never to be part of one again.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Love the image and I had to laugh at that joke. Great post, John! 🦅🦆🦉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lauren

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  29. Laitress · ·

    Cute!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. 😁

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  30. It seems you know a lot about bird watching. Ever done any?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not like the advocates but as an interested bystander.

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