Birding is not a hobby in the traditional sense; unlike someone whose hobby is making model airplanes where you spend a few hours or more a day gluing bits together, a birder is constantly birding – it is a frame of mind – a birder sees the world differently with their eye ever on the sky and their ears ever listening for a chirp. You can see a bird anywhere and anytime so it is a hobby that never ends. An experienced birder can identify a bird while it’s flying away, in bad light, without binoculars – simply by automatically recognising its shape, size and the way it is flying – as I said, it is a frame of mind. Below I have made a short list of a few words used by birders that may not be familiar with normal people, it is our ‘slang’ and I might use some of these words later so pay attention!
• Twitcher: someone who chases frenetically around the country spending endless hours and money in the hunt for rare and very rare birds in order to ever increase their list.
• Dude: a person who takes an interest in birding but is not very serious about it and cannot usually identify a bird that is not commonly found in their garden.
• Robin-stroker: we don’t talk about these people, sometimes used as an insult to another birder.
• Stringer: someone who falsifies a bird record i.e. they claim they have seen a bird that they haven’t, a severe crime in birding.
• Gripped off: you find out from another birder that a rare/interesting bird was seen in this exact spot by him only moments before you arrived but it has now sodded off.
• Mega: a bird that is ridiculously rare, so rare that you may only get one chance in your life to see it.
• Stupid bag of feathers: a bird that you very much want to see but which is being particularly evasive or giving frustratingly brief views!