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Difficulties while birding. 


Nuisances when birding.  

30 members have voted

  1. 1. Bugs.

  2. 2. Dangerous Animals

    • Bear
    • Alligator
    • Puma
    • Other large and possibly dangerous animal.
    • No problem at all in this category.
  3. 3. People/other



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Just now, Seanbirds said:

Some other options that might be interesting to add:

  • Weather (Too cold, too hot, snow, rain, high wind, etc)
  • Being rushed for time

 

I thought I had added weather, and I did add pets. 

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One of my favorite hotspots is right near an airport that has a flight school for nearby college.  I always want the weather to be a little less than ideal so there aren't touch-and-go then circle overhead happening every 30 seconds.  Really not fun during migration when trying to record/id songs.  I've actually cut short visits there it has gotten so frustrating.  

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This is the best thread on whatbird lol!! 
 

While visiting my family in NY two weeks ago, I was taking a walk around their normal suburban neighborhood. I stopped a group of trees to photograph a chipping sparrow fledgling, and these two women walk by and ask “What are you doing?” Very rudely. I said I’m photographing a bird. They said “Well we’ve never seen you before!” Also said rudely. We just walked away. 
 

I have had countless other issues too, along with one that’s not on the list. It’s that sometimes regional parks are so crowded even during the week that there’s no birds out. I’ve also had issues with little kids on the beach scaring away the gulls on purpose while I’m photographing them. They’re little kids so it’s not entirely their fault as they don’t know that it’s rude to me, but it would be nice of the parents to at least tell the, to wait a minute, tell them to do it the other direction, or at least apologize. 

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Ticks, traffic, planes, and other.  And maybe I should have chosen pets as well, because I can't just go birding for as long as I want and leave them alone for hours.

The bears aren't a problem here - they don't want anything to do with us.

Having to go to the bathroom in the middle of a great birding walk really bothers me!  So does being rushed for time, warbler neck, high winds, too much stuff I want to bring... Also, I am not at all a morning person, so I often miss the best time to bird. ?

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10 hours ago, IKLland said:

 

I have had countless other issues too, along with one that’s not on the list. It’s that sometimes regional parks are so crowded even during the week that there’s no birds out. I’ve also had issues with little kids on the beach scaring away the gulls on purpose while I’m photographing them. They’re little kids so it’s not entirely their fault as they don’t know that it’s rude to me, but it would be nice of the parents to at least tell the, to wait a minute, tell them to do it the other direction, or at least apologize. 

A couple teenagers saw me photographing terns, and chased at least 1000 royal terms up! Planes and cars can get annoying when they scare up a bird, or ruin a recording

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Dangerous animals - DOGS. The only ones that have ever attacked me while I was birding (some 13 bites on both legs, took three months for the wounds to heal and a year and a half for the pain to subside). Also annonying to have feral/neglected dogs roaming all over everywhere while you're birding. Even worse - birding companions who insist on bringing their dogs.

People: demanding to use my binoculars, including friends - they didn't get the point that the Mayan temple will still be there in 10 seconds  but the Royal Flycatchers most likely won't. More amusing than annoying: pointing out the Great-Tailed Grackles while I'm looking at something far more interesting, and being surprised that I don't immediately turn to look at it. Fun: kids who took me to see the "parrots" in their neighborhood (White-Throated Magpie-Jays), then asked why the hummingbirds change colors (I explained that there were different species in different colors and sizes). 

Trying to carry enough water to keep from getting dehydrated while on a marathon birding expedition. 

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I definitely agree with a lot of what has already been said.

Before making this list, let me preface that I usually go birding on weekdays. The only place I can really visit on the weekends is the local bird preserve, because you have to pass through a checkpoint and can't bring pets or portable speakers.

  • Bugs: Living out in the desert, we don't get ticks, but the biting flies can be annoying in the marsh. DEET-free bug spray is a good solution. Keep an eye on your footing if you want to avoid standing in an ant colony.
  • Dangerous mammals: Mountain lions are rare and avoid people. However, people need to stop feeding the coyotes, as they get used to humans and may bite when they don't receive food. I had one time where a coyote stuck close to me for a significant portion of a trail, but that one may have had pups nearby.
  • Loud music: This one can be frustrating at local parks, especially when it's near a popular roost. It's usually less of an issue in the wilderness.
  • Pets: I actually haven't had as many problems with people walking their dogs. The only problem I have is when two dogs meet and start barking at each other, and the owners insist on stopping to chat. That, and people not picking up the poop.
  • Queues: Lake Mead can be tedious to enter, especially on the weekends. If you show your park pass and ID, you can go through immediately. It stinks being behind someone paying for entry and asking a ton of questions, and they don't have a pass-only lane.
  • Children: I saved the best/worst for last. While it can be a magical time when a child asks what you're watching and shows genuine interest when you show them a photo and explain why the rarity you're watching is special, let's face it, the majority of kids don't give a hoot about birdwatching. Unless indoctrinated by nature trails as a youngster, it's a very boring hobby where you just sit around and stare at tiny flighty specks, kind of like fishing. The problem comes in when they run around screaming on trails because their parents never taught them nature etiquette. Thankfully, the number of children on trails is strongly correlated to school days.
Edited by Zoroark
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1 hour ago, Aveschapines said:

Dangerous animals - DOGS. The only ones that have ever attacked me while I was birding (some 13 bites on both legs, took three months for the wounds to heal and a year and a half for the pain to subside).

13 bites?!  Yikes!  Glad you're okay now!

1 hour ago, Aveschapines said:

People: demanding to use my binoculars

That reminds me - one time a complete stranger asked to use my binoculars once.  It wasn't like we were in a birding group or anything; we were on a ferry looking out over the ocean.  I was very uncomfortable and I'm kind of a germophobe, but I reluctantly let him have them.  He did give them back though and all was good.

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Ah, I completely forgot to comment on airplanes. The Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve is directly under a major flight path for Harry Reid International Airport. Last year, I started getting into recording audio, and it really makes you realize how frequently roaring aircraft disturb the peace. There's also a major construction project north of the preserve, and the backup alarms on those trucks are loud.

I might as well also mention the traffic of getting to/from some of the locations. Part of birdwatching is getting out early. I used to be a night owl, so getting up before dawn and beating morning rush hour takes a lot of effort. This one also plays into the climate, as it's way too hot during the summer days here.

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8 minutes ago, The Bird Nuts said:

13 bites?!  Yikes!  Glad you're okay now!

That reminds me - one time a complete stranger asked to use my binoculars once.  It wasn't like we were in a birding group or anything; we were on a ferry looking out over the ocean.  I was very uncomfortable and I'm kind of a germophobe, but I reluctantly let him have them.  He did give them back though and all was good.

Thanks! I just have scars to show for it now. The rabies vaccines were fun too LOL!

Strangers often ask to use my binoculars. Once I was in the city zoo birdwatching and an employee (seemed like a custodian or caretaker, not admin staff) insisted I let him use my binoculars, and asked what I was doing. I'm pretty much the opposite of a germophobe (although a certain virus has done its best to change that...) but I worry about theft, and, yes, just the idea that some random stranger has a right to use my equipment! Of course in a group of birders or friends we will lend as needed with no issues. 

I have had a problem with a particular person who keeps asking to borrow my camera when we're out birding (this person doesn't have one) and then keeping it; I've had to be rather assertive in asking for it back once they've taken the photo they want to take, or when I want to take a photo and don't want to lend the camera right then. It's awkward, but I confided in another friend from the group who gave me good advice about how to deal with it.

Birders are often looked upon with skepticism here. Once a group of friends was birding admittedly on private property they really shouldn't have been on, but the neighbors detained them for several hours because they thought they were doing surveying for mining (very contentious here). Even showing their photos of birds and field guides didn't convince them! 

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58 minutes ago, Zoroark said:

 

  • Bugs: Living out in the desert, we don't get ticks, but the biting flies can be annoying in the marsh. DEET-free bug spray is a good solution. Keep an eye on your footing if you want to avoid standing in an ant colony.

Mosquitos can be bad here too; once on a Christmas Bird count in the jungle in Petén we were getting bitten up good. DEET bug spray was somewhat affected effective, but the guy using the "natural" alternative actually seemed to be attracting the mosquitoes! We have mosquitoes here that leave a tiny hole in your skin, which weeps and then scabs over and itches for a couple of weeks.

Another time in the jungle someone ahead in line called out that there were leaf-cutter ants on the trail. I didn't understand their habits and stepped across their line, and suddenly they were all up my pants and biting like crazy! Fortunately I had on loose cotton pants, and had to go digging in them to fish out the ants. Another companion, wearing close-fitting jeans, had significantly more trouble LOL! Now I know to step OVER the neat parade of ants with their little leaf sails.

Edited by Aveschapines
Wrong word!
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3 hours ago, Aveschapines said:

Dangerous animals - DOGS. The only ones that have ever attacked me while I was birding (some 13 bites on both legs, took three months for the wounds to heal and a year and a half for the pain to subside). Also annonying to have feral/neglected dogs roaming all over everywhere while you're birding. Even worse - birding companions who insist on bringing their dogs.

I didn't think about dogs, I don't have any problem kicking a big dog as many times and as hard as it takes, it is the little dogs that I have trouble with. I mean what I'm I going to do to a 8 inch tall dog, that is snapping at my ankles and yapping it's head off, while grandma is coming long with her walker yelling "Rupert! Stop that Rupert, come here! Stop that! I'm sorry young man, he doesn't see very many people...Rupert!" 

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39 minutes ago, Kevin said:

I didn't think about dogs, I don't have any problem kicking a big dog as many times and as hard as it takes, it is the little dogs that I have trouble with. I mean what I'm I going to do to a 8 inch tall dog, that is snapping at my ankles and yapping it's head off, while grandma is coming long with her walker yelling "Rupert! Stop that Rupert, come here! Stop that! I'm sorry young man, he doesn't see very many people...Rupert!" 

I was in a field looking at birds, and three dogs came running and started biting me. They stayed behind me, and if I moved a leg at all they bit it. It was impossible to kick them and I didn't dare reach for rocks on the ground and thus provide my hands for bites! A neighbor heard me scream and came and chased the dogs away. My legs and pants were torn to ribbons by then.

I saw the guy who rescued me a few weeks later and he told me that the dogs had been aggressive and had attacked others too; the owners didn't do anything when people complained. The neighbors in the area were afraid they could kill a child or an elderly person.  He told me that they had given the dogs "bocado"  (literally means a mouthful, but the expression means they poisoned them) so I shouldn't worry because they were "finished".

Many/most people here let their dogs roam freely and there are a number of feral dogs around too. It does seem to be more commong to see people walking well-cared-for dogs on leashes, but I see at least 20 free-roaming dogs for each supervised pet. And the free-roamers are never 8" tall.

Every time I went to the health center to get my rabies vaccines there were always at least 5 other people there for the same reason, so clearly dog bites are not uncommon!

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45 minutes ago, Aveschapines said:

Many/most people here let their dogs roam freely and there are a number of feral dogs around too. It does seem to be more commong to see people walking well-cared-for dogs on leashes, but I see at least 20 free-roaming dogs for each supervised pet. And the free-roamers are never 8" tall.

Almost all dogs around here free roam, most of them aren't mean so it is generally not too big of a problem, but if you do find one that is there is basically three answers: The pound, the local constable, or a bullet, of course the latter only works, er, that is the latter is only legal if the dog comes onto your property. 

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Speaking of dogs, I know a guy that has some sort of house dog, don't know what kind but anyway, it is so hot and dry here that the dog will not walk on the grass right now.... His lawn is so dry the grass is like walking on spears. 

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12 hours ago, Zoroark said:
  • Children: I saved the best/worst for last. While it can be a magical time when a child asks what you're watching and shows genuine interest when you show them a photo and explain why the rarity you're watching is special, let's face it, the majority of kids don't give a hoot about birdwatching. Unless indoctrinated by nature trails as a youngster, it's a very boring hobby where you just sit around and stare at tiny flighty specks, kind of like fishing. The problem comes in when they run around screaming on trails because their parents never taught them nature etiquette. Thankfully, the number of children on trails is strongly correlated to school days.

This is the good side of looking "scary" for me.  Kids never bother me.  

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Moose and deer are the only animals I’ve encountered that showed me some form of aggression towards me.

Bears and Cougars are frequent in my area, but I’ve never encountered one while birding. Coyotes and bobcats I guess I see a lot too, but they generally run away once they notice me.  

In 2018/2020/2021 wildfire smoke was really bad so that not only made for low visibility, but also ‘silenced’ the birds. Also wasn’t the best to be breathing in…

Worst and most frequent though is definitely other people. 

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Not in my normal areas but I'd add snakes to the list. Also shady homeless campers and trash. I've actually turned around and left after driving 15 min to one of my common haunts because I wasn't comfortable even leaving my car in the parking lot. 

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