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A Birder's Dictionary - Learn Birdwatching Terminology (or mock it)

Welcome to the dictionary of informal birding vocabulary. Watch for a more formal post by subscribing to the site HERE!

Western Tanager in the Rocky Mountains
Check out this Western Tanager with "crippling plumage."

If any of this makes you laugh, then please consider joining the flock!


Bins

noun

boring nickname for binoculars. See "nockies" below. (Want our top bin recommendations? Click here.)


Birding

noun

the observation of birds. Birding is the more "extreme" version of this hobby. Birders pursue birds and birdwatching opportunities more readily.

 

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Want to learn some 'dumb bird' terminology? Then check out one of our favorite funny field guides, The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America!

 

Birdwatching

noun

the observation of birds. Birdwatching is the more casual side of this hobby. Birdwatchers observe birds in a more leisurely fashion. (Learn more about the basics of birdwatching here!)


Chaser

noun

a bird person that pursues some desired bird.


Crippler

noun

an aesthetically pleasing bird, often brilliantly colored.


Ding-dong

noun

a nickname used by some for Horned Larks that jump in front of your car on an icy road.


Dip

verb

#$%!@#$!@#$%^@!#$^ (a curse word). See also "missed the mega."


Lifer

noun

the first sighting of a species in your lifetime. If you want to commemorate your life birds, check out our Life Bird Stickers! Lifers go onto a birder's life-list.


Mega

noun

a bird of maximum rareness. Not to be confused with a grail. A grail is the ultimate of ultimates in the bird world.


Nemesis

noun

the species that brings you great grief in being "ticked."


Nockies

noun

these are what you will look for a mega through.


See "bins."


Check out all of our nockie recommendations!


Need a great pair of birding nockies for a reasonable price?

Nikon Monarch M5 binoculars

Pish

verb

to make a sound that summons birds.


It also summons strange looks from folk passing by. (If you want to try it at home, simply say the word.)


Plastic

adjective

used to describe a bird that is an escapee from captivity. Thus, the bird is not "tickable" to some


Reviewer

noun

the person who holds the eBird fate of your sighting in their hands. However, you can still count the bird even if you did not get a photo. You can tell them to "dip off"


Shippee

noun

a bird that has likely been ship-assisted. These are likely not eligible for "ticking"


Slash Bird

noun

a bird(s) recorded on a checklist that does not fit nicely into a specific category. For example, a Canada/Cackling Goose


SOB

noun

the "spouse of birder". This is an unfortunate position to be in, being pledged to a birder


SOB, get your birder a camera so they don't become a stringer.


Spark Bird

noun

the species/individual/moment that triggers your birding/bird watching addiction


Stringer

noun

this is an insult. If someone calls you this, set your nockies down because you are about to scrap


Tick

noun

the mark you put on your life list to indicate you've seen a particular species


Trash Bird

noun

a species often overlooked due to its common occurrence. (We need to fix this attitude. Find love in your hearts for European Starlings!) In Australia, often called chooks


Tweener

noun

an individual bird that often has an appearance "between" two difficult-to-identify species


Twitcher

noun

a birder who "twitches" or gets antsy thinking about chasing. Twitchers often will chase over long distances


Warbler Neck

noun

the pain in your neck from staring into treetops


Wobbly-gogglies

noun

a ridiculous term buried in the annals of the internet, used once to denote a pair of binoculars


Want to read wild 'effin' birding terminology?


Birding terminology is simply ridiculous. The shorthand used by birdwatchers, birders, and ornithologists is expansive, and this list simply does not do it justice. Check back for more updates in the future!


 

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