Jump to content
Whatbird Community

Requesting material for 'Tips for New Birders' post


Recommended Posts

12 minutes ago, Seanbirds said:

Me neither. That reminds me of a story Kenn Kaufman told about a guy he knew who would only count adult male birds he had seen on his life list. 

I've heard of that too. As a female person I am slightly offended, but really it only hurts the birder who is missing out! (But maybe that guy wouldn't count me as a birder because I'm female...)

I had a birding friend once get very upset with me because I wouldn't count an Emerald Toucanet that flew over and was identified by the other birders in the group on my personal life/observation list. I explained that all I had been able to see was that it was a bird. He kept saying, but it was 100% an Emerald Toucanet. I didn't dobut that, but if I can't see for myself why then it doesn't count for me! Other more understanding friends will patiently explain what field marks to look for so I can "get" the ID for myself even when others identified the bird. I got my first Cooper's Hawk that way; my friend pointed out some features that made it not a Sharp-Shinned and I could see them, and it went on my list. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a ‚Äúnew‚ÄĚ birder (about a year) many things here are helpful. ¬†Classes, guides, binoculars (then better binoculars) and guided trips with local experts have all been invaluable.
 A field guide doesn’t really help with Sharp-shinned or Coopers till you have seen a few of both. 

 The gulf coast during migration is a blessing because it’s easy to get help from people at the hot spots.  90% of the people are wonderful.  Maybe 10% can be condescending. 
Cameras are important to capture images for later study.  It’s an important part of learning for us new to birding.  
This forum is very good for IDs but It’s not always a friendly forum for new birders. 

  • Like 1
  • Sad 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Don't wander into DPreview.com.  I recommend them highly for photography help for all skill levels but they're shutterbugs first and foremost, with image quality being their primary goal.  Many of them don't understand how birders can value in a poor quality photo, even if it is an Ivory-billed Woodpecker.

Duly noted. I will stay away! 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Roadguy205 said:

This forum is very good for IDs but It’s not always a friendly forum for new birders. 

Let's change that! It was one of the best things for me as a new birder who didn't know anyone nearby who birded. I wish it could still be that for other new birders. We need to shoot for better than that 90% rating!

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Aveschapines said:

I personally cannot wrap my mind around people who don't count birds on their lists if they haven't photographed them;

 

48 minutes ago, Seanbirds said:

That reminds me of a story Kenn Kaufman told about a guy he knew who would only count adult male birds he had seen on his life list.

I got into the weeds at DPreview with some British photographers who were adamant that British birders would NEVER count a bird solely on song or call alone without having seen it.  I made one attempt to disagree with them.  After that, I decided they were photographers, not birders, and most likely didn't have a clue what they were talking about.  That seemed much more likely than British birders not birding by ear at night.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Embrace the power of "and".  Be a: 

  • "Birder" and a
  • "Photographer" and a
  • "Note-taker" and an
  • "Observer" and a
  • "Bird watcher" and a
  • "Lister" and a
  • "Twitcher" and a ¬†
  • "Naturalist",
  • or any combination thereof if you want.

Don't lock yourself into anyone category if you don't want to.  

Don't feel any sense of shame for taking photos of a common bird to get an ID.  

Nothing make sense with birds when you start out, even Field Guides.  

"What is the black duck with a white bill that I was seeing this weekend?  I can't find anything like it in the Field Guide".  "Look at American Coot".  Basic gist of a message I sent on a defunct forum, and the answer I got back. Coot's ain't ducks, even though they are floating on the water, and hanging out with other ducks?!?    

All the above meant to be advice for new birders, as it relates to the recent discussion.  

Edited by chipperatl
  • Like 12
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This has been a really interesting discussion. For what it's worth, I think that bird photography is a primary if not the primary purpose of this forum, as the very active sub-forum for that indicates. And again, for what it's worth, I'm still more likely to grab my camera if I really don't know what something is, as it can operate as a form of long-term binoculars that I can use to sit down with resources later to get a good ID. 

I don't think that, or the birdwatcher vs birder distinction need to have a value judgement attached to them, as @Aveschapinessaid better than I could.

This discussion is also a good reminder that many of the people who come here for the first time (myself included) do so as that nutty birdwatcher who knows tons of stuff about birds, like the names of at least two different types of sparrows, and has seen lots of really interesting birds and knows how to recognize some bird songs even. We arrive here and possibly for the first time are exposed to the sheer depth of information and expertise available on the subject, way beyond anything we've experienced. It's that approach of how to ID a bird that can be so valuable, and can be a gateway drug from birdwatcher into birder. I think it's a good reminder that reasons for the ID are more important than the ID itself, and a good reminder also of the discussion of banding codes from awhile back. I think most folks here are really good at understanding who they're responding to and adjusting the level of the response to the person who asked the question well.

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, Roadguy205 said:

A field guide doesn’t really help with Sharp-shinned or Coopers till you have seen a few of both. 

What field guide do you have? Mine does a fantastic job. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

 

I got into the weeds at DPreview with some British photographers who were adamant that British birders would NEVER count a bird solely on song or call alone without having seen it.  I made one attempt to disagree with them.  After that, I decided they were photographers, not birders, and most likely didn't have a clue what they were talking about.  That seemed much more likely than British birders not birding by ear at night.

This. ¬†Only went to DPreview for the post about the cameras that I also put here. Other than that, I see what you mean. The people on there are not like the ones here. I won‚Äôt go any further into this, as I don‚Äôt want to offend any of them if they wander over here. But, thanks everyone on here for being the best bird ID forum ever and the most helpful birding site I‚Äôve seen so far.¬†ūüôā

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Seanbirds said:

Do you have Nat Geo, Sibley, or something else?

I've got a bunch, but my 2017 Nat Geo is the best. I also have a newest edition Peterson guide, and a Stokes guide( has real photos). 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would suggest that from time to time that everyone go look a field guide that is not for birds, I don't care what. You know what that is going to look like to you? It looks crazy. Just what it looks like to someone who is just getting into birds and has gotten a field guide for birds.

We will say, for sake of conversation, that I have found a brown moth with white spots on it. Now I get my guide for moths and butterflies and what do I find? 32 different spices of moths that look just the same, to me. Now all of these have 12 morphs 7 subspecies, and 8 of them are in range. So I give up and find some people who know what they are doing. And what answer do I get? "Stupid. Don't you know that the white spot on the left antenna 1/16 of an inch from the end only leaves one option?" Is that helpful? So the next person comes along and give me and 4 letter abbreviation.

So now I timidly post asking what the name of my moth is, hoping not to get my head bit off. Somebody tells me the name, and tells me to get a field guide.

Now am I ever going to post of that forum again? Am I going to want to get into moths? No.

I'm not saying we are like that, but we definitely lean that way sometimes.

On 6/17/2021 at 5:53 PM, PaulK said:

I think most folks here are really good at understanding who they're responding to and adjusting the level of the response to the person who asked the question well.

Agreed.

If someone brand new posts here who is not into birds, and is probably not going to want to start learning how to identify birds there is no reason to do anything other than tell them what there birds is, and if they thought is was something else why it isn't that.

What I'm I trying to say? I don't know. Thanks for tolerating my rambling.

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

All righty then!

This afternoon I consolidated all the suggestions.  They fell into three specific topics - Identification, Field Craft,  and Resources.  There were also a handful of miscellaneous tidbits.  For the most part I left each suggestion as originally phrased, with credit to the original posters.  I corrected spelling and grammar, and I reworded a couple of items for clarity.

I think the best approach will be to create a discussion for each of the three main topics.  That will allow new ideas to be added where they fit best, and will keep each discussion to a size that won't intimidate readers. 

Then I'll create one general discussion that has links to each of the three specific topics.  I'll also include the miscellaneous ideas in the general one.  Once that's done, I'll ask @Aveschapinesto pin the general one here, and unpin this discussion.  I'll also link to the general one in the existing 'How to submit an ID request'.

Are the alternative suggestions for how to format this?  I'd like to wrap this up this weekend, so don't sit on your hands, or feathers, or whatever...

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
8 hours ago, IKLland said:

??¬†ūü§™

Oh, man.  I got it wrong on the first one, copied it to my buffer, then pasted it on all the others.  @Aveschapines can these be unlocked so I can fix them?

I'll be shocked if this is the only typo.  I abbreviated Her Highness' name as 'Aves' while transcribing, and almost missed replacing all of those.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Oh, man.  I got it wrong on the first one, copied it to my buffer, then pasted it on all the others.  @Aveschapines can these be unlocked so I can fix them?

I'll be shocked if this is the only typo.  I abbreviated Her Highness' name as 'Aves' while transcribing, and almost missed replacing all of those.

You also called Aidan ‚ÄúAiden‚ÄĚ, and Connor ‚ÄúConner‚ÄĚ.

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Oh, man.  I got it wrong on the first one, copied it to my buffer, then pasted it on all the others.  @Aveschapines can these be unlocked so I can fix them?

I'll be shocked if this is the only typo.  I abbreviated Her Highness' name as 'Aves' while transcribing, and almost missed replacing all of those.

I can't do that but I can make the changes for you. 

Another typo: the following suggestion isn't mine. No problem for me but the actual author will want to be correctly credited:

ūüź¶¬†If you‚Äôre feeling overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of birds in a field guide, or even after you‚Äôve whittled it down to the birds of your area, maybe find a group of birds that interests you, then start branching out from there! That‚Äôs how I started. I got into birding because of a small hawk on my walk home from school, and just looking through the field guide we happened to have and watching the bird, I found it so cool that I could know what species it is! I then tried to learn all the raptors in my area, then the US! Then I learned about warblers, and down the rabbit hole of birding I went! (Aveschapines)

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...