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The Birder Jargon Dictionary

B

Beachpipersn. Refers to those shorebird species generally observed on sandy shorelines

Big Dayn. A birding event in which a birder, or a team of birders, attempts to see as many species of birds as possible in a 24 hour period.

Big Yearn.  A birding event in which a birder attempts to see as many species of birds as possible within a defined region (world, state, ABA Area) in 365 days, generally from January 1 to December 31.

Buffie1) n. Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Tryngites subruficollis

BVn. Hawkwatcher term for a Black Vulture.

BVDn. Better View Desired.  A term for a life bird seen well enough to identify, but not well enough to enjoy.

C

Chickn. Any species of North American Chickadee

Chickamicen. A general term referring to a mixed flock of Chickadees and Titmice

Chippy – n. A slang term for Chipping Sparrow, Spizella passerina.

D

Dip - 1) v. To travel to attempt to see a previously reported rare bird and fail to see it. 2) n. The actual bird that one has missed.   Related forms: Dipped, verb.

F

Falloutn. A rare and exciting occurrence in which migrating birds are forced to the ground by adverse weather where they can congregate in very large numbers.  Generally associated with certain meteorological and geographical conditions.

G

Grasspipersn. Refers to those shorebird species generally observed in grass or on sod farms

Greaterlegsn. Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca

Grip (or Grip off) – v. To see a bird which another birder missed and to tell them you’ve seen it, often to brag about said sighting.

H

Hoodie1) n. Hooded Merganser, Lophodytes cucullatus. Appropriated from duck hunter slang. 2) n. Hooded Warbler , Wilsonia citrina

L

Leastie – n.  Least Sandpiper, Calidris minutilla

Lesserlegsn. Lesser Yellowlegs, Tringa flavipes

Life List - n. A list of every species of bird an individual birder has ever seen, or heard, in the world. See also Lifer

Lifern. The first-ever sighting of a bird by an observer, added to one’s life list.  See also Life List, Tick

Linkn. Lincoln’s Sparrow, Melospiza lincolnii.

Local Patchn. A birding location, often near one’s home, that an individual birder visits regularly.  see also Patch

M

Marshpipersn. Refers to those shorebird species generally observed in marshes

Megan. A very rare bird generally a continental or national rarity, but can also be used to refer to state rarities also.

Modon. Slang term for a Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura.

Mudpipersn. Refers to those shorebird species generally observed on mud or tidal flats.

N

Nemesis Birdn.  A bird that has eluded a birder despite several efforts to see it.

P

Patchn. A birding location, often near one’s home, that an individual birder visits regularly.  see also Local Patch

Peck -n.  Pectoral Sandpiper, Calidris melanotos

Peepn. A collective term for the five smallest North American Calidris Sandpipers; Least, Semipalmated, Western, White-rumped, and Baird’s

Pishn.  An emphatic shushing noise made by North American birders to elicit mobbing behavior in small birds.  The sound is intended to roughly replicate the alarm calls of chickadees and titmice.

R

Rockpipersn. A term referring to those shorebird species generally observed on rocky shorelines.

Roughien. Hawkwatcher term for Rough-legged Hawk, Buteo lagopus.  see also Roughleg

Roughleg- n. Hawkwatcher term for Rough-legged Hawk, Buteo lagopus.  see also Roughie

S

Sandn. Sandpiper.  Often paired with the species name (Least Sand, Western Sand, Stilt Sand, etc)

Semi1) n. Semipalmated Sandpiper, Calidris pusilla, see also Semi Sand  2) n. Semipalmated Plover, Charadrius semipalmatus, see also Semi P or Semi Plover.

Semi P – n.  Semipalmated Plover, Charadrius semipalmatus, often used to differentiate from Semipalmated Sandpiper.  see also Semi or Semi Plover

Semi Plovern. Semipalmated Plover, Charadrius semipalmatus, often used to differentiate from Semipalmated Sandpiper.  see also Semi or Semi P

Semi Sandn. Semipalmated Sandpiper, Calidris pusilla, often used to differentiate from Semipalmated Plover.  see also Semi

Shouldern. Hawkwatcher term for Red-shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus

Slashn. A term used to describe to cryptic species pairs that cannot be identified to species, often in reference to a day checklist.  Examples include Long/Short-billed Dowitchers, Greater/Lesser Yellowlegs, Willow/Alder Flycatcher.

Sollien.Solitary Sandpiper, Tringa solitaria.  see also Sollie Sand

Sollie Sandn. Solitary Sandpiper, Tringa solitaria.  see also Sollie

Songern. Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia.

Spottyn. Spotted Sandpiper, Actitis macularius

SSVn. Soul Satisfying View. A term used for a life bird seen exceptionally well.

Stringv. The act of intentionally misleading other birders about the presence of a rare bird.  see also Stringer

Stringern. A person with a reputation of knowingly misleading others about the presence of rare bird, or one who is believed to intentionally fabricate rare bird sightings.  The presence of malice is important in distinguishing a string from a well-intentioned mistake. see also String

Swampyn. Swamp Sparrow, Melospiza georgiana.

T

Tailn.Hawkwatcher term for Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis

Tick- 1) n. – A new bird added to one’s list.  2) v. – The act of adding a bird to one’s list  Related forms: Ticking, verb. Ticked, verb. see also Lifer

TVn. Hawkwatcher term for a Turkey Vulture.

Twitchv. To seek out a previously reported rare bird, generally traveling long distances to do so. Related forms: Twitching, verb. Twitcher, noun, one who twitches.

Twitchableadj. Referring to a bird that, by virtue of its reliability and accessibility, is easy to find if chased.

Two Bird Theory – n. A mostly pejorative term used to refer to a situation in which a rare or otherwise desirable bird is claimed to be present alongside a more common, and often similar, species.

U

Uppien. Upland Sandpiper, Bartramia longicauda

W

Woodien. Wood Duck, Aix sponsa. Appropriated from duck hunter slang


Z

Zonon. A collective term for sparrows of the genus Zonotrichia.

Zootien. A locally rare or unusual bird.  A “good” bird. The etymology is not certain, but it has been suggested that the term was coined by Oklahoma birder Joe Grzybowski.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. September 4, 2011 9:56 pm

    I have 3 to add:
    Coop- Cooper’s Hawk
    Sharpie- Sharp-shinned Hawk
    Zonie- Zone-tailed Hawk

  2. September 25, 2011 7:47 am

    How about a couple of common birding acronyms:

    LBJ – Little Brown Job is an indeterminate small brown bird that was not identified

    BVD – Life list or day list notation indicating “Better View Desired”

  3. September 30, 2011 1:05 pm

    Ahh love this! Now I finally have somewhere to direct my non-birder friends to when I start spouting off in birder-ese about this and that resulting in their utter confusion.

    quickie suggestions:
    Pishing
    Maggie (Magnolia Warbler)

  4. October 4, 2011 6:50 pm

    “Flammy” for for Flammulated Owl, not an adjective for one’s sexual preference.

    “Bino Bra” – harness used to spread weight of binoculars across one’s shoulders rather than the neck strap which causes pinched nervous. The bino bra may cause acute cases of man-boobs.

    “Warbler Neck” – sore neck due to looking up into the high tree branches for warblers and other assorted species.

  5. William Leigh permalink
    April 3, 2013 3:05 pm

    Not sure if MODO is really slang, as it is the banding code for that species. However, it may be used more often then other banding codes and thus be both slang and banding code?

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