Monday, October 24, 2011

The Birding Snobs

"Never shares sightings with anyone else, and that ticks people off"
"Always birds by themselves"
"The experts, they all hang out down there at the Tip like it's a love-fest"
"...a good birder, but kind of a snob"

These are a few of the quotes I have heard this past spring and fall. The third quote I just heard yesterday, and I was one of those people hanging out at the Tip!.....It leaves me pondering......Am I a birding snob?

"Never shares sightings with anyone else, and that ticks people off"
I share my sightings with other people, and I hope (almost expect) they do the same. I mean that is part of birding right? I must admit, even I have screwed up in not phoning someone about a bird. This is never intentional, I just forget, or don't realize it. Often, unless it is a MEGA rarity, I don't make phone calls. As for my sightings, I post them on this blog, and/or send them to a regional compiler. One thing I haven't done in ages is write my sightings in the Sightings Book in Point Pelee National Park because I rarely go in the visitor center. If there is a MEGA rarity in the park though I do give them a call.
In the end they are my (and your) bird sightings, and you can tell whoever the heck you want too. Just be prepared for some flak if you don't share, believe me I know!

"Always birds by themselves"
Jeremy Hatt, was (and still is) my best birding bud. We worked well together and we always knew when to shut up and just bird. Visiting was for over the phone, or lunch. Since Jeremy has moved to Toronto I mostly bird alone. Why? Because it is hard to find someone to replace the person you had such good chemistry with. I personally can't bird in a large group because it often just ends up being a chit-chat fest....With the few days off I have right now I'm out there for the sole purpose to watch birds. If the birding is slow I don't mind a conversation, it's nice to visit, but if the birding is awesome can we please just bird?
This is a problem during the month of May here in Pelee. There are a lot of familiar faces around and they like to visit and that is okay...sometimes...This past May since I was barely birding I ran into a problem in that I wanted to bird AND make sure I say "hello" and catchup with my birding friends. However, they had one thing I didn't have.....time off from work....I quickly found that if I hung around the usual so called "hotspots" (Tip and Tildens) I couldn't bird. I ended up mostly birding by myself this past spring to make sure I got the most out of the spring migration, but I felt like I was somewhat of a recluse. This was by no means intentional, just the way it had to be.
There are also some people I can go birding with and some I simply can't. It's just that simple. It is nothing personal, I just find there are some people I can relax and bird with better. My husband, Aaron isn't one of those people and he knows it. But he still loves me :)

"The Experts...they hang out at the Tip like its a love-fest!"
I seriously have no idea what was meant by this. I don't even know if it was directed at me. I do admit I hangout at the Tip a lot in the fall, often with the same people, scopes pointed out over the water, for one reason: To find something neat flyby. I never thought this may be intimidating to people, or would make them upset, but there is no snobbery here, just people who want to watch the birds fly by.

"An excellent birder, but kind of a snob"
This one was directed towards an individual quite a while ago. I had to sit back and think about it on my is this person a snob?.....True the individual doesn't say much, but some people are just quiet by nature, and that doesn't make them a snob. In the end I had the feeling there was a little bit of jealousy involved with this one. Heck even I get jealous, that there are some people who have better luck than me finding rarities, but i don't get too upset over it. Most people who find rarities know how to look for them. For instance, take the plain looking Cassin's Sparrow, a somewhat non descriptive little brown job. This bird lives in the southern states of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado. "So what?" you ask. Well, this little sparrow for some reason has been showing up to the east and north of its range this year, so wouldn't you be thinking in the back of your mind "I should really keep an eye out for this bird" ? Unless you keep up with sightings like this, you wouldn't have a clue to look right? Sometimes it helps to be prepared so when you might actually see it, you will know better what to look for. This actually happened here last fall when there was a northward movement of Striped Saddlebags. People heard about this invasion and kept a look out for them. In the end, the first record for Ontario was in Point Pelee on September 29th, 2010.
Let's not forget about the luck factor of course! Being at the right place at the right time has a lot to do with it as well.

In the end, every "sport" has its perceived snobs, though I think that this has a lot to do with misunderstanding. As well, as in sports, the so called snobs are often the ones that are really exceptional at what they do. Heck, I'm not a saint, I've talked about others behind their backs, we all have, and it is human nature to share your opinion with people who feel the same way about an individual, a certain issue, or society as a whole. It is when you catch word that you are in fact the targeted individual of said opinion when you sit back and think....."Am I really like that?"......... "Do I even care?"

....The answer is no, I don't. Let people think what they want, I'm going birding! :)


  1. I haven't been to Pelee for a while, but I don't
    miss all the crap.