Just as there are different kinds of birds, there are different kinds of birders. What kind of birder are you? I’m sure that as you read through my list, you’ll be able to identify with one or these—or add another “species” that I haven’t thought of. And if you think I had you in mind when I made my list, well, perhaps I did!
Like a raptor on the hunt, this birder makes a beeline for where the action is. They expend a tremendous amount of energy while birding, but they’re always on the bird. They aren’t easily distracted. If someone points out a bird, they’re first on the scene, and all over it.
The Bush Tit
This social birder enjoys being part of the flock, moving through the brush, searching high and low for an LBJ skulking in the underbrush, and chatting as they go. The more eyes looking, the more birds on the trip list, so hanging out with a flock of Bush Tits can be quite productive.
The Rufous Hummingbird
If the Bush Tits travel together, this birder prefers to fly solo. If the group takes the right fork in the trail, this birder will take the left fork. Not surprisingly, at the end of the day everyone will be wondering what happened to them. Then they’ll turn up with a trip list that has little in common with the “official” sightings. Of course, they’ll have seen the “good birds” that everyone else missed.
The Canada Goose
It seems that every group of birders has one individual who has a naturally loud voice. Everyone else can be talking softly, or in whispers, when suddenly the silence is broken by the goose exclaiming, “WHAT’S THAT BIRD OVER THERE BY THE TREE?” You mean that bird that just flew away?
In any mixed flock of birders there are some who are more skilled than others. When a new bird is sighted, these are the ones who first call out a potential ID. Then there are the parrots, who repeat the name as if it was their expertise that named the bird. For example, Power Birder says calmly, “I hear a Chipping Sparrow.” Then Parrot calls out (much more loudly), “I’m sure I just saw a Chipping Sparrow in those willows!” Most of the time, they haven’t seen the bird at all, but when it’s finally sighted by the rest of the group, guess who gets credit for the correct call?
The Mother Hen
One of the birders most appreciated on a trip is the one (and it’s usually a “she”) who packed all the home-baked goodies, which they then share with everyone else. The night before an early departure, when we’ve just finished dinner and are feeling content, we tend to pack healthy, practical food: trail mix, perhaps, and a piece of fruit. Maybe a wedge of cheese and some whole grain crackers, all natural peanut butter, or a turkey roll-up. But once we’re out on the trail, we find that we’ve worked up an appetite and we inhale our lunch in two bites. How grateful we then are for those gooey brownies or pumpkin cupcakes!
The Mourning Doves
For a single birder, one of the best places to meet a compatible companion is on a birding trip. When things begin to click, the rest of the group suddenly realizes that we have an “item” among us. Just as Mourning Doves pair off and stick together, so do these two love birds. No one minds, of course. In fact, they just make the rest of the group smile and remember their own lovey doveys.
Well, this is an incomplete list (if I think of more, I’ll just have to do another post!), but it’s enough to get you started. What other kinds of birders do you go birding with?