Birding Lingo

Updated: May 29

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

Check out this Western Tanager with "crippling plumage."

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Bins


noun


boring nickname for binoculars. See "nockies" below.



Birding


noun


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



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


#$%!@#$!@#$%^@!#$^. 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."





Pish


verb


to make a sound that summons birds. It also summons strange looks from passerby's. (If you want to try 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 no 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.



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 ancy thinking chasing. Twitchers often will chase over long distances.



Warbler Neck


noun


the pain in your neck from staring into treetops.




Thank you for checking out our post on birding terminology! We hope you found it fun and interesting.


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