Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius
Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me
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Thursday, 26 July 2012

The things birders say...................Part One.

Yea, part one.

Some of the things that spew from these mighty mouths deserve more than one post.
Now I've nothing against 'birders' in general; but there's a few that seem very full of their own self importance. They seem to have their heads firmly up their own backsides, and can't see the light that bathes the rest of us in.

I'm a member of a few online local bird groups, that report various sightings. I've even reported a few myself; usually the odd bird that might interest others from my local lake; including the Spotted Sandpiper from last year.

All good stuff; it would seem.

However, some of the contributors seem to revel in the ridiculous. A few even like to mention at most opportunities, that they are studying for this degree, and that degree, or even a PHD; anything to make them seem more intelligent, and therefore what they are rambling on about is somehow more important and knowledgeable than what anyone else is saying.
After all, they got an education.....innit.

I've sometimes referred to these birders in the past as 'grown up birders'. A misnomer if ever there was one.

Recently a certain someone, who shall be referred to as MA, (and contributes to a birdwatching magazine, and recently left a message blatantly advertising his new book..........tut tut), also did a post asking, ' Do you have a least favourite bird?'

(It also contained a link to his blog; now there's self doubt and desperation for ya.
His least favourite by the way, turned out to be a Linnet)

Anyway, the following are the comments/posts from the thread. Enjoy.....I did.

Another MA was up first with  ' I don't agree with your choice for bottom of the pile - I actually like that species. Mine has to be Dunnock.'

Our first MA couldn't resist replying with, ' No need to be sorry. Why not post your choice on my blog?'

Oh dear! More self publicity.

Aaaaaa, the replies began to come in thick and fast now.

Ms B replied............. hello You Two

What extraordinary choices! Linnets are beautiful birds, and I don't see nearly
enough of them. Dunnocks are inoffensive little creatures that grace any garden;
their chief advantage surely being that they begin singing so early (Dec - even
November) and herald spring!

Have you chaps never heard of herring gulls (and similar)?

Our MA thanked Ms B.
That was nice.

Our other MA chipped in with............' Yes. All gulls are fab, including the mighty Herring, whether flying around en masse at a tip, providing a wonderful spectacle in a roost in the last hours of daylight on a winter's afternoon or just loafing around on fields. They also provide the ultimate ID challenge ...'

(These are all straight copies from the posts; not my spelling or grammar I hasten to add)

V&DB were up next, with........' Yes, magpies for various reasons, not least for the din they cause when they are playing king of the castle in the trees at the bottom of our garden. I recently spent a four days on Mull where there aren't any...... it was bliss.'

Aaaaaa, nice. By now, I just had to comment.

Me............' I don't have a least favourite; I love 'em all.
Even the noisy, brash gull family, crow family and geese family.
What's to dislike? Much better than people.

Now we get a response from a 'grown up' that's studying; RKB

' Have to disagree there, Magpies are amazing. Not only gorgeous to look at, but
also set apart from most other birds by their intelligence - they are one of the
few birds that are 'self aware' in the same was as us, monkeys and dolphins. Put
a Blackbird or almost any other bird in front of a mirror and it attacks the
'rival', put a Magpie in front of a mirror and it knows it is itself. Even human
children can't do that for their first 18 months (look up 'the mirror test').

As for least favourite - it's has to be Great Tit for me. They're the bane of my
life. If they're not mimicking the Marsh and Willow Tits I'm trying to find,
leading me on a wild goose (tit?) chase through blackthorn and brambles, they're
beating them up, nicking all of the bait seed, piling into my traps or nets, or
mobbing me while I'm trying to do something that needs concentration. They make
everything in my project take twice as long as it should. Birdfeeders and
nestboxes should be banned!

Aaaaaa, a proper, clever grown up. Even the original MA is moved to respond;

RKB- great comment thank you.

Naturally some people can't seem to post in the appropriate thread, so here are the ones that went a bit off, and made their own thread.............

E...............posted; Appologies if this is a re-post,

The LBJ -

Seriously , I'd nominate the Cormarant- for the damage it has done to the
heronry at one of my favourite sites Little Paxton Pits in Cambridgeshire.

(see, now I'm not correcting grammar or spelling. These are 'clever' people after all.)

Next we had DM............
Hi all,
Can't believe no-ones put Wood Pigeon, reasons, sometimes for a brief moment you
think great here comes a sparrowhawk only to realise the flight pattern is all
wrong (come we've all done it). They dominate my feeders and one bird keeps
leaving "messages" on my car bonnet. And they're proper thick, early morning
travelling to work or actually working there they are sat in the middle of the
road I slow down then at the very last possible moment they might fly away. I've
lost count the number that I've hit..sad but true. Also they can't build nests
they've had hundreds of years of evolution to perfect it yet they still fail to
build a safe secure looking nest in theory they shoud be extinct.
Can I add my ex girlfriend to the list or is that not PC

Aaaaaa, lovely.

Oh, Ms B chimed in with..................' Bit ungrateful. I thought they won The War.'

Bugger, and there's me thinking that was the Carrier Pigeon. You know, the descendant from the Rock Pigeon. Hmmmmm.

DM chips in with....................' But it's also the reason why they culled all the peregrines along the coast! I also thought it was a variety of pigeons akin to the stock dove/homing pigeon and not the wood pigeon, I could be wrong.


E chimes in with.......' Cant be the woodie p -they taste too good.'

and with that, we get back on the original thread

DW..................' Mine would have to Gulls too - although it does depend on where I am. To see them at the seaside is ok, it's in the skies over cities that they are incongruous'

CA now adds an interesting point....................' Might I add my voice, and submit the Mute Swan.
What? How can it be the swan? Epitome of beauty and grace, gliding across the
calm surface of the water like poetry in motion.
Yes, but you try talking to parents with kids about the wonders of the natural
world, in front of some ducks. Then a swan decides one of the cute ducklings
looked at it in a funny way, attacks and drowns the poor little thing. Cue
instant mental trauma for all those watching, and completely undoes all my work
of explaining how these are things we want to protect. And this happens time
after time. Swans might be nice to look at, but are vicious, paranoid and have
no sense of proportional response.

Rant over, as an aside kingfisher was showing down at the lake in Wicksteed
Park. Some nice dragonflies and damselflies too. Am no expert, but I picked up
emperor dragonfly. Highlight though was the young grass snake, making its way
across the paths to have a swim in the lake (much to the consternation of the
ducks and geese)

Hmmmmm, never seen a Mute Swan do that 'time after time'. Never seen it do that once even. I must get out more. They seem like right hooligans.

By now I was loving all this. Had to leave a comment.

' What a great thread this is; keep them coming.
The reasons given for the 'dislikes' are hilarious, and great material for a
future blog post.'

RKB pops up next, with..............' Swans might be nice to look at, but are vicious, paranoid and have no sense of proportional response.'

And aren't they probably a non-native, introduced by the Romans? You could
perhaps ask if FERA have any bullets left over from the Ruddy Duck cull!

Clever response.


Aaaaa, well done MrT

Ms B replied..........'
What's a super soaker please, T? I'm sorry you feel so strongly about wood
pigeons. The fact that they are "far too common" means they are successful,
adaptable and opportunistic - so maybe not so stupid?

Whatever a super soaker is, I feel that the bad design of the classic bird table
is the problem. I made my own. The roof needs to be far lower - blackbirds and
starlings are happy to duck to get in, and LBJ's don't have a problem. Pigeons
and magpies try but can only reach any food round the edges. Also, they should
always be sold with a plastic tray for washing. The RSPB sells a good tray - but
too big for the silly bird tables generally available.

Good stuff!!

DM to the rescue..............' It's a big and quite powerful water pistol, great for getting rid of cats from the garden. They're powerful enough that I just have to reach out the window and nail the cat from 10-15 metres away. Better than my dog

Glad that's cleared up then.

Then DM killed the thread with this..............' Well with some down time at work I asked a few work mates (we know how to have fun lol).Two that stuck out were 1) My transport co-ordinator was in the aduience of a Rod Hull show as a kid and got mauled by his puppet Emu. 2) One colleague said Tawny Owl as in her village it would start calling at 2 in the morning in January.....of course I had to ask where she lived....

And that's entertainment!!

See you at Birdfair.

And I don't know what happened to the formatting in this post. Seems it's got a mind of its own.


  1. Cheers Keith.............I thought it was only me that found them a pain.

  2. Certainly an interesting breed. :-)

  3. This is why I left the birding scene-they're largely a bunch of contemptuous, hate-filled clones with no respect or heart. As Albert Schweitzer said, when we lose reverence for one part of life, we lose reverence for all of life.

  4. Thanks.
    I don't usually publish anonymous comments; they usually try and sell me something, but I'll make an exception here.

  5. Great send up Keith. I think birders are pretentious, and tend to ignore all the other aspects of nature. Of course what do I know, I get excited about all birds. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River. By the way I have no special education in nature. In fact I'm a complete amateur, and it probably shows. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  6. Ha! This made me laugh. I'm glad someone stood up for the magpies. They're such beautiful birds. We do have a problem with mute swans on some of our lakes, though. They will jump on folks who are on personal watercraft and can be quite dangerous to children. They're probably just protecting their nests, but it's become a pretty serious problem for the humans.

  7. Thanks Gary. You sound like me; a nature lover. All nature.

    Thanks Linda. I guess the swans, like most animals, are just protecting their nests and young.

  8. I once had an ‘expert birder’ visit me at my former employment. (A zoo) We were looking at Sandhill Cranes. After he informed me that Sandhills had never nested in Cache Valley (where I live) I told him we had raised several at the zoo and that as a kid I had seen many nests, eggs and young. He curtly let me know that I was mistaken and that there was no ‘documented’ case so it could not have happened. I never bothered showing him the photo evidence or even to take him out and show him any of the nests that I had visited just that week! He was the expert, not me :)

  9. some people take themselves SO seriously! :)

  10. A great story Dale. Sounds just like one of our well known birders here.
    It doesn't exist unless he's seen it.

    Theresa, you're so right.

  11. Keith, my, my! People do think highly of themselves!
    Why would you want to pick a least favourite anyway? Beats me. They are all Natures creatures and they are all wonderful!
    As for the wingless upright dodos: pick a little, peck a little, cheep, cheep, cheep!

  12. Robin, some of these people are just amazing. Real life comedy on some of these 'groups'. How they keep a straight face is beyond me.

  13. HI Keith...WOW..I thought if your a birder you like all birds ...how stupid I have been ; } lol!!
    Well you have managed to make me spit on my key board with an open mouth burst of laughter...a real bunch of loser's with to much to say!!
    I wonder what a conversation about bird watcher or humans in general would sound like if it was the birds speaking there opinion!! ; }
    Hugs my friend!!

  14. Have to agree with you Keith, some birders are complete and utter *******! I say that as a birder, but hopefully not one of the 'up their own arses' sort! You get them everywhere and the 'if I haven't seen it, therefore it wasn't there' is far more common than some people realise!
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

  15. I am a birder, and all thing that natural. I don't agree with those "birders" who would mess up your photos by being thousands of them standing there.

  16. Sorry for killing the thread lol Just the way I am.

  17. I was interested to see Time to Live's comment, since the Sandhill Crane is a favorite of mine and I've seen and heard it many times from my front porch in our valley (you all may be interested to know I've learned to distinguish it from a heron). People could probably go on forever about why they hate them (they peck corn seed out of the ground, for example) but I hope we can all find a way to share the territory.

  18. Guess thats why so many of us are loners...like myself. Just dont want to deal with other people's stuff! When I think of sharing on a more intimate level I am reminded of the consequences of it...and decide against it.

  19. Grace, an interesting point about what birds think of us; especially an assembled group all staring at a lone individual, as he flutters about. They must think we're all crazy. lol

    John, thanks. Yea, not all birders are nobs. I have met a few good uns on my travels.

    Thanks Bob. Yea, I hate crowds too.

    Douglas, thanks for commenting.
    Yea, I guess all good things come to an end, eventually lol

    Thanks JoLynne. A good point about us all sharing a territory. Anyone would think we own this planet at times.
    Birding seems to have its own pompous fraternity the world over. lol

    Good point Sondra. I thinks that's the beauty of this hobby/pastime; something we can do alone, and still enjoy. There are times when good company is enjoyable too.
    Myself and Trevor both share a common interest, nature, and we've had some great days out in the past.

  20. You lost me somewhere after the third reply.
    All I have to say is: HUMANS

  21. I've seen some of those forum conversations (but never taken part) and a lot of the contributors are so pretentious and really think they know it all. I assume the 'well known birder' you mentioned to Time to Live was the one featured on the twitching documentary a while ago who makes it his business to question everyone's sightings as if he is somehow the boss!

  22. Nicole, I couldn't have put it better.
    Hope you're keeping well.

    Thanks Jan. Yea, he's the one! lol
    He didn't do himself any favours on that programme.

  23. very entertaining, least favourite bird? what a daft question!

  24. I think Dell Boy would have said, 'What a load of plonkers.'

  25. Thanks Sharon. Yea, there's some daft people about there. lol

    John, I think you're right. :-)