Saturday, 6 June 2015

Birding words and mis-spellings

Young Birder Mya-Rose Craig AKA birdgirl
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Mis-spelling of birding words

Today, the famous American birder Ted Floyd wrote an article on the ABA Blog about words most commonly mis-spelt. Many of the birds were American birds that are not vagrants here and so you wouldn’t have heard of them unless you had come across them in the US. 

Examples that I hadn’t heard of were: 

  • Heerman’s Gull (Heermann’s)
  • MacGillivary’s Warbler (Macgillivray’s). 

Others were recognisable (at least partly) such as: 
  • Stellar’s Jay (Steller’s) and 
  • American Widgeon (Wigeon).

When I was 10 year old, I had a reading age of 15. Give me any spelling test and after 2 minutes I would always get 10/10. However, actually look at my spelling when I write and it’s pretty rubbish without spellcheck. Add to that, the additional problem is spellcheck has US spellings rather than UK, it can be difficult.

So, I thought I’d give my top five birding words that I used to mis-spell:
  • Twich (Twitch)
  • Columbia (Colombia)
  • Artic Skua (Arctic)
  • Brunick’s Guillemot (Brunnich’s)
  • Audoin’s Gull (Audouin’s)

Young Birder Mya-Rose Craig AKA birdgirl with Mohammed Foysal from the Bangladesh
Spoonbilled Sandpiper Conservation Project
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Bird watching Words and their meanings (according to Birdgirl!)

Birding's most used words

  • Bander - Ringer in the USA
  • Banding - Ringing in the USA
  • Big Year - To do a year list
  • Bins - Binoculars used to look at birds (never "binocs")
  • Birder - A person who visits places specifically to see birds, the sort of person you want to be
  • Birding - What birders do
  • Bogey bird - A bird you have tried for lots of times but keep missing and others have seen (mine is Little Auk!)
  • Celebration dance - A "Twitcher's" expression of joy after seeing a "tick", like the one Jack Black does in the film "The Big Year" but about a bird bird and not a human bird 
  • Digiscoping - Using a telescope and a camera (or phone like me) to take photographs of distant birds
  • Dipped - Going on a Twitch but not seeing the rare bird, a gutting experience (to dip)
  • Drip - when you dip and are gripped at the same time, the worst feeling ever!
  • Dude - Someone who birders assume are not serious or experienced birders and are being mean about
  • Dudie - To act in way so that some birders might assume that you are not a serious or experienced birder
  • Elusive - usually though elusive - impossible to see
  • Gen - Information about a bird or it’s whereabouts
  • Gripped off - When someone else (usually a friend or family member) sees a rare bird that you haven’t seen, much worse than dipping
  • Jizz - The unique characteristics of each bird that you learn with experience
  • List - A list of birds you’ve seen (world, country, local patch, year)
  • Mega alert - An alarm sound that is only used by the pager companies for a very rare bird (my Dad's sounds like our kettle, so that is confusing!) accompanied by a pager message or text about a very rare bird
  • Ornithologist - A person who follows the scientific study of birds, what birders aspire to
  • Ornithology - The scientific study of birds
  • Ringer - A person who catches birds, puts a metal ring around their leg, and releases them – for scientific studies
  • Ringing - When you catch birds to put on rings
  • Scope - A telescope used to seeing birds at a distance
  • Scoping - To use a scope to see a bird
  • Stringer - A person who says that they have seen a rare bird that you do not believe
  • Stringing - When you say that you have seen a rare bird when you know, or should know, that you haven’t
  • A tick - A new bird for a particular list (e.g. country)
  • Tripod - A stand with three legs used to hold the telescope
  • Twitcher - A person who travels long distances to see particular rare birds
  • Twitching - What twitchers do, what many birders can't help but do and a habit we can't give up
  • A Twitch - A place where there is a rare bird and lots of twitchers
  • Year list - To try and see as many birds as possible during a year in a certain area (e.g. county, country, world)

Hudsonian Godwit twitch, April 2015, Shapwick Heath, Somerset
Photograph taken by young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

More birding words

  • Albino - When a bird is white due to a genetic disorder
  • Bill - A bird’s beak
  • Bird race - to try and see as many birds as possible in a day, usually in a team for charity
  • Call - The talk of a bird
  • Crepuscular - Birds that come out at dawn and dusk
  • Duff gen - False or bad gen, from someone you won't trust again
  • Endemic - A bird that you only get into a certain restricted area, e.g. within a country or region
  • Eclipse - A type of dull post breeding plumage 
  • Eye-piece - The part of the telescope that you put to your eye
  • Field guide - A book that you use to identify birds
  • A first - A bird that had never been seen in the country before
  • Flight feathers - Primaries and Secondaries (feathers)
  • Helagoland trap - A permanent large solid trap used to catch birding during ringing
  • Juv - A juvenile bird that is still immature
  • LBJ - Little Brown Job, drab brown birds
  • Lifer - A new bird you have never seen before (eg in Britain or World)
  • Mist nets  - Fine nets used to catch birds during ringing
  • Nocturnal - Birds that only come out during the night
  • Pelagic - A boat trip designed for seeing sea birds, usually with bad smelling fish
  • Pishing - A sound that birders make to try and get a bird to come into view
  • Play back - Bird sound recordings used to entice out song birds
  • Prey - Anything that a bird might kill or eat
  • RB Fly - Abbreviation for Red-breasted Flycatcher
  • Site guide - A book that tells you about good places to go birding
  • Scope pack - A device like a back pack used to carry your tripod and telescope
  • Sibe - A bird coming from Siberia
  • Song - The song of a songbird
  • Speculum - A panel of iridescent feathers on the secondaries of some ducks 
  • Supercilium - A line of feathers above the eye (or an eyebrow)
  • Tart’s tick - A new bird for you that others think is easy or have seen several times.  A form of put down.
  • Trip list - The list that you keep on a specific trip (e.g. a country)
  • Unconfirmed report - When the pager doesn't know or trust the person giving the report, a stringer?
  • Vagrant - A bird that has strayed outside of it’s normal range into your area
  • WOB - Wife of a birder (whether wife, girlfriend, husband or boyfriend)
  • World birding - To travel to countries around the world to try to see as many birds as possible in the world
  • Yankee - A bird coming from America

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig Pelagic off Lima, Peru August 2012
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Young Birder Mya-Rose Craig AKA birdgirl at Keynsham AWT talk
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

About the writer

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Scilly
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

Mya-Rose Craig is a 13 year old young birder, conservationist, environmentalist, activist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol, UK and blogs about birding and conservation from around the world. Wader conservation is important to her and she is Ambassador to the global wader initiative World Shorebird Day. She is looking forward to Mountain Gorilla trekking this summer in East Africa and to watching penguins in Antarctica in December, her 7th continent. She has recently been listed with the singer songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people. Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for posting a comment. Please can you make sure that it is positive and is about me or my blog and not about promoting you or your business. Thanks. Mya-Rose Craig