Introducing the Birder Jargon Project
Birders have a language, a dialect maybe, that’s really only immediately comprehensible to other birders. We’re all aware of it. We talk about it often amongst ourselves, in the self-deprecating manner of those who realize that their avocation is seen as quirky among the general public. We nurture it, adding regional nicknames for birds and bird behavior to the greater birder dictionary for those to use beyond our circle of friends and colleagues. And we all remember how difficult it was to get those bits of birder jargon into our heads when we first picked up binoculars.
It has to be said, birding is an exceptionally beginner friendly hobby. Birders, by and large, have earned a reputation as being open, kind, and more than willing to pass on their accumulated knowledge to those who have only recently developed “the bug”. But too often the birds you find on bird walks don’t appear to have the same names as listed in the field guides and there’s no place in the wide world to find them. And how about that terminology employed by birders, zooties and grippers and blockers. Where are you supposed to learn about those?
Into this breach comes a new project at The Drinking Bird. An attempt to catalog the range of birder vocabulary for prosperity. Every week, assuming a new life bird doesn’t take precedence, I’ll take on one or more of these little bits of birder esoterica, to explain their etymology, to put them in context, and to offer the explanation that every beginning, or expert, birder needs to arm themselves for the field, even if the only birder using certain names is me (I love ’em, much to the chagrin of those who go on my birdwalks, perhaps) Fear not the barrage of Hoodies, Woodies, and Traill’s. Worry no more over Timberdoodles and Shoulders. The Drinking Bird is here to help.
I’ll jump into the fray next week, but to get us going, what are your favorite bird nicknames or otherwise birder-specific vernacular?