You Know you are a Birding Fanatic if...

Panhandle Bird Club



You rise before 4 a.m. to see a dull brown bird that doesn't even sing well. -- Ken Blackshaw

You keep a list of birds seen out the bathroom window while on the toilet. -- Joel Hitt

You keep a list of birds seen on television. -- Terry Moore

Your car insurance has a birding rider. --David Scheiman

your non-birding spouse could probably fill this thread with hundreds of comments! -- Steve Hampton

..if you bird landfills. --Bill Wimley

..if you read Birdchat before your first cup of coffee. and then again after your first cup of coffee.--Bill Wimley

... when you spend entirely too much time racking your brain for a witty contribution to this thread (like I just did)...Robert G. Bernstein

when you keep so many birds lists that you have to keep a list of lists.--Aileen Lotz

it takes you three hours to go get a loaf of bread at the corner store for your spouse.--Pierre Duguay

... you are willing to travel 22 hours and 1,300 miles in a van with a men's college basketball team, then brave temperatures in the teens so you can add American Tree Sparrow to your life list. True Story!!!--Bill Wood are constantly irritated by "inappropriate" background birdsong in movies (e.g., Chiffchaff in Washington D.C., Common Loons yodelling in rural France, Wood Thrushes in the Rockies, etc., etc.)...AND if you constantly ruin movies for your spouse with your comments to this effect. --Sharon Taylor keep a color-coded checklist for life year and state birds.--Steve Sosensky own more pairs of binoculars than shoes.--Steve Sosensky

...if you wash dishes with binoculars around your neck. --Pat Lanier

....if you keep binoculars in your desk to check the field from your window. --Pat Lanier

... you breakfast with your bins standby. (1)

.... you pay more attentention to your backyardbirds than to your bread. (2)

.... you pay more attention to your backyardbirds than to your husband or wife (3)

.... you do (1), (2) and (3) similtaneously!--Anneke de Vries of Utrecht, Netherlands

I once saw a Bald Eagle flying over the parking lot of the grocery store. It was a good thing my binoculars were in the shopping cart.--Cathy Murrant

a raging thunderstorm accompanied by tornados can't wake you up in the morning, but the song of a new yard bird out the window does! --Allen Chartier

When on a business trip, you take your bins to a restaurant and id. gulls out the window. --Larry de March

... you have more money invested in optics than automobiles.

... you plan your business trips and visits to kids in college to coincide with birding hotspots and migrations.

.. you find yourself wearing Wellington boots with a business suit on rainy mornings in the spring migration --Stephen P. Baker

When you own more SPOTTING SCOPES than shoes ...

(And the related...) When you take more spotting scopes than shoes on a birding trip...

You have a Wedding Day bird list...

You go on a romantic evening cruise off Waikiki just to tick up new seabirds, while everyone else wines, dines and dances...

When you keep a list of plaster bird yard ornaments seen in your travels...

(Either Barry or I --or both -- plead "guilty" to all of the above...)-- Gail Mackiernan

..a couple of years back was a fellow I met in the Montreal area looking for a vagrant Blue Grosbeak. He had literally come to the location of the bird right from his dental surgeon's. His tongue was still frozen from having a wisdom tooth extracted so he was almost incomprehensible when asking for directions and a tiny trickle of blood ran from the corner of his mouth down his chin! --Lance Laviolette

you climb on top of an active garbage dump at 10 deg F in a blizzard to study and photograph gulls at close range for an hour and a half. --Urs Geiser keep a life list of birds seen and identified in your dreams.--Diane Porter

... you look forward to hurricanes and tornadoes because you think they will blow some unusual birds your way... (actually, this would probably qualify you as a birding psychopath)...Capt. R. G. Bernstein

. . . on the way to a romantic early-October honeymoon in the Poconos with your non-birding newlywed you somehow end up at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary ("Gee, honey, I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere")--and never do make it to the Poconos.--John L. Trapp

if you forward weird bird mail to other people :~}Becky Hatfield

....when you look at your doorstep every night to see if the postal carrier has delivered any more bird books.--Heath Wakelee

Your non-birding spouse has a life-list (maintained by you as a courtesy) that includes Red-legged Kittiwake.--Bill Taylor

when you hear about a rarity (insert Siberian Accentor here) you call up a web reservation system to see if you can get there. (Or call your travel agent).--David Powell

...when you keep a Christmas card bird list.-- Barbara Ross

When your *dog* has a life list that would qualify her for the ABA "lower-48" listing...Gail Mackiernan

...if you take Mom on a sidetrip to the Bolinas Bay Sewer Pond on your way home from Dad's funeral.--Dan Baxter

. . you've been to the Brownsville dump.--Karen Bridgers

You are in a cemetery at your grandmother's burial. You pull out a piece of paper to write down the address of a cousin you haven't seen in a long time. Your wife gives you a hard time later because she thinks you were writing down a bird you saw during the service--Don MacNeill

..... when you give up the prospect of having a spouse, a girlfriend, or any sort of relationship. Sorry guys, but anyone who does not have an equally fanatical spouse is compromising their fanaticism!--Jim Hully

.... when you choose to bird near foriegn military installations (even after you get arrested)--Jim Hully like to go gull watching.--Todd Forsgren like empidonax flycatchers.--Todd Forsgren eat meat, but not poultry.--Todd Forsgren

Recently on one of these long night drives I discovered a callous on my left index finger that I had not noticed before, surely it has been there a long time but where did it come from?? A puzzle for a few dark miles but suddenly it dawned on me, the Focus Knob of my field glasses, I possess a physical manisfestation of my birding fanaticism.--Jeff R. Wilson

Easter, 20+ years ago. VERY recently married. Big dinner with my wife's family so they could meet the new boy. I was sent to the store to acquire certain key last minute items. Along the way I discovered a Black-headed Gull at the local sewage treatment plant, a life bird and a first county record. The desert and I were four hours late for the dinner. The consequences were predictable.--Rick Blom

You chase a Little Curlew a hundred miles from your home on the beach two days after heart surgery. (Limited to walking 500 yards) Missing it, you go back a week later and walk four miles on the beach looking for it AND MISSING IT AGAIN.--John C. LeVine

Driving 1400 miles (RT) in 29 hours to look at a Rustic Bunting for 20 minutes.--John C. LeVine

a lister who has to list my lists to find a specfiic list.--Vincent C McGrath

...favorite olfactory experiences include sewage lagoons and garbage dumps. go to the beach only during nor'easters or after strong cold fronts. pay good money to throw up on fishing boats, but you don't care to fish.--John S. Wright

... both you and your wife share the same passion, but you go get the life Chestnut-collared Longspur anyway, even though she's lying in the hospital with your newborn baby girl (Honey, I'm sorry, I just had to, y'know?--George Dremeaux

When it normally takes you half an hour to walk to work except in spring when it takes three hours.--Ken Gale

This thread has continued for 3 days, and no one has complained, recommended using the delete key, suggested that it be discontinued, nor corrected syntax or spelling!!!!--Linda Lee Baker

if you make two (2) all day trips in one week to see the SIBERIAN ACCENTOR?--Dave Lawrence

You drive six hours, starting a 2 am, with two annoyed dogs in tow, from Washington DC to the tip of Long Island, to see a Northern Lapwing (which you have, btw, seen 1000's of in England) and DON'T SEE IT...! So the next weekend, you repeat the same maneuver, only this time you SEE IT! YAY! Gail Mackiernan

...if, while birding on a narrow dirt road in Costa Rica, you step back to let a jeep pass and fall into a 7 foot deep hole, but when you land you still have your eyes on the life bird! (Common Bush-Tanager)

... if, while birding on that same dirt road in Costa Rica, your spouse, who is standing between you and the bird guide, falls into a 7 foot deep hole and you don't notice he's gone until you turn to speak to him!-- Allen Chartier

When you choose a spousal figure because of their perceived birding reputation.

When cutting apart a chicken, you find yourself comparing your arm to it's wing for comparative anatomy.

You have had at least one automobile accident because you were looking at a bird instead of the road.

P.S. Hasn't EVERYONE been to the Brownsville Dump?-- Kenneth T. Blackshaw

"You know you are a birding fanatic

Sorry, I heard a weird "chip" call outside my window. Anyway,

"You know you are a -

Heard it again, but I couldn't find the bird. Where was I, oh yes,

Man, what IS that bird making that call? It sounds close, but it stops when I go out. Okay, back to this post -

"You know you are a bir-- John Himmelman

When you ask your birding buddy what she did in the Grand Canyon and she describes driving up to the entrance gates and asking where the sewage ponds are-and that seems absolutely rational and appropriate to you.

When you go to the Grand Canyon yourself what's the first thing you do? Visit the sewage ponds, of course!--Robin Smith

...your sleeping partner, instead of the usual loud snoring or incomprehensible mutterings, heard four or five distinctive and well executed: "psssheeeeep, psssheeeeep, psssheeeeep, psssheeeeep, psssheeeeep" ...the last trailing off to a longer and indistinct "psssheeeee."

....your sleeping partner heard a distinct "ten, twenty, thirty" -then a pause, and- fifty, sixty, seventy....Richard L. Ferren

For your wedding anniversary he takes you to the Brownsville City Dump to see the Mexican crow! Keri Dawkins

if you want to see a very special bird, but have to go to work, you report sick. When you come back the next day at work your boss asks you if you are feeling any better and then asks what you were doing in the other side of the country, because he saw you on television on a special about birdwatchers! True story.--Pieter van der Luit

... you can't contribute anything to this thread now because it's the official start of the weekend and you're already on your way to do something fanatical...Capt. R. G. Bernstein

when you can't bring yourself to sign off of RBA email lists for places you haven't been to in 2 years and may not go to again for a few years, just in case.--Dr. Stephan L. Moss

At a professional conference in a strange city, all your colleagues attend the free 3 -course lunch, but you whizz off to the local garbage dump to get your life California gull and still be back for the afternoon session.

Your car is permanently covered in Gull poop all winter from visiting the local garbage dump nearly every lunch-time.

On the Internet you spend more time browsing Birdchat than reading the latest professional journals.--Richard Stern

. . . you welcome the prospect of below-zero temps and piles of snow on the theory that it'll drive northern species farther south. So when everyone else huddles indoors you head out looking for Snowy Owls, Great Gray Owls, and Redpolls.

. . . similarly, you welcome damp, drizzly, spring days as great days to go out looking for waterfowl and shorebirds.--Drew Clausen

... you plan your wedding date so you can take a honeymoon the last week of April and beginning of May to the Texas Coast, and then spend *all* of your honeymoon birding ...

.... you can't keep from interrupting normal conversations with non-birders by commenting on every bird you see or hear as it passes or calls...Sharon Goldwasser

Your wife-to-be insists on maintaining her maiden name because that is how she is known in birding circles, and that seems perfectly reasonable.-- Chuck Williamson

as part of your provincial Big Year you travel solo to the Hudson Bay Coast of Ontario (Winisk) and sleep (with shotgun at the ready) right at the coast in a shack your Cree guide tells you is missing both its door and windows because they were torn off by a Polar Bear. True story.

Or was that how you know you are a lunatic? I keep getting the two confused.--Glenn Coady

..when one of your earliest memories is of a polka-dot bird !--Cathi Tomsen

...You take your 2 month old daughter with you.

...You insist on doing the dishes all the time because you have a bird feeder visible from the kitchen window. wake up at five am every morning during migration. take the long drive home everytime. carry your bins in your lunchbox at work.

have a field guide and a pair of bins in each one of your vehicle--Pierre Duguay

.... while you're reading BirdChat you suddenly bolt up the stairs when your spouse annouces that a Purple Finch is at the feeders because it will be a year bird for you, and then get giddy when those two blobs sitting in a distant tree turn out to be Eastern Bluebirds because a) that's the first time you've seen that species in your yard for 13 months (andyou know how long it's been to begin with) and b) it's a year bird for your hometown ....Jamie Meyers

When you say shhhhh-h-h to try to get your dog to stop barking and he thinks it means to run outside and look up. -- Margie Wilkinson

You fall off a rock in Costa Rica while on a Birding trip. You definitely don't want to miss any of those great birds, so you strap up your broken wrist yourself, swallow a couple of Tylenols and keep birding for three more days until you can see your own doctor when you get home.--Ann White need to get out for a little fresh air, so you head for the sewage treatment plant. have a trip list from your honeymoon.

..there's no question in your mind that you want the fluorite scope, even when you know how much more it costs than the non-fluorite model. do your CBC on a cold, foggy, misty day when your non-birding friends don't even venture out of their houses, and at the end of the day you're thinking, "That wasn't so bad. I've birded in worse." drive 50 miles (one way) on yet another cold, dreary winter day to a place you can barely find because you heard that there was flock of 500 vultures there.

You know you're lucky when . . . have a spouse who's by your side, and as enthusiastic as you are, during all of the above! --Doug DeNeve

My gosh let's see...binos kept at home (the good ones used for field trips), a pair kept in the car (not quite as good but fairly good), a pair kept in my desk....a birding calendar at home, a birding calendar and poster in my cubicle....bird photos used as my wall paper on my computer and all kinds of bird photos on the walls of my cubicle. What does that make me?....Bill Kossack

You realize you're a birding fanatic when you (who never learned to ski because you hated the cold) hold onto the scope on a rock in a 30 mph wind with a thermometer temperature of +4 F so you can better see the oldsquaw rafting close in on the bright sunlit wind-whipped waves through the frozen tears in your eyes caused by the wind and sun . . . and you call out "Oh, no . .! when the leader says it's time to move on. -- Brenda Pena

How about bird photos on my computer and my screen saver and when I closed window95 I hear a little Chickadee dee dee insted of chimes. -- Pierre Duguay

You realize you're a worse birding fanatic than you thought when you find yourself laughing at only 1/4 of these posts . . . because the other 3/4 seem like perfectly normal, logical things to do!! -- Brenda Pena

... when you keep a pair of bins on top of your computer monitor at work so you can scan any suspicious winged critter that appears in full view of your window and ....

... and when you keep a up-to-date list of species seen out that window (complete with Latin names and in toxonomic order) taped to a shelf on your desk ....

But it's far more interesting than the corporate propaganda or the cute cartoons that some people post in their cubes!-- Jamie Meyers

You realize with shock that everybody knows you're a birding fanatic because they warn each other about giving you rides to singing functions (my other fanaticism) because you are likely to scare them half to death when you start yelling about some interesting (to you) bird seen from the moving car. -- Brenda Pena

You suspect that you might be a fanatic when at the begining of each school semester students (non-birding) ask what birds you have seen.-- Marietta Deming

These are true stories, but let me start with a disclaimer. I am not the star of either of these sagas:

A tour participant tripped over an impediment on a trail at Poas Volcano National Park in Costa Rica on the first morning of a 12 day trip. She suffered a head injury, but refused any medical attention. She continued to bird and never missed a hike even while taking pain medication and suffering dizzy spells.

Upon returning to the US, she saw her own doctor who diagnosed a fractured skull. Now, that's a birding fanatic!

So was the young nurse who went to Costa Rica on a tour and fell in love with the country and its tropical splendor. She returned home, quit her job, divorced her husband, and moved to Costa Rica!

And, some people think I'm a fanatic! -- Nancy L. Newfield suggest, in the strongest possible terms, that your niece, getting married in Minot, North Dakota, schedule the marriage during the week-long ABA convention there in 1994. (She did.) BTW, said niece also wisely selected her wedding day as Thursday, coinciding nicely with the scheduled ABA round-table, thus allowing her photographers (us) to attend all ABA field trips and lecture days!-- Jane Kostenko

...when you blush furiously at the new Energizer "bunny-spotter" commercials, because you KNOW they've used birders as their models (espeically when you find yourself quoting the commercial after seeing your life ROSS'S GULL in Delaware recently, "There's no other pink like it..." --
Jane Kostenko

...I bird every weekend and holiday (like we all do) but I travel late at night so I don't waste my morning traveling in a vehicle!

...before, after, and even during typhoons, I go to Yehliao (a forested penninsula on Taiwan's northern coast) to look for vagrants blown in by the powerful winds!

...I bring my bins to school and check out the windows every so often (I keep a list of birds at school too). computer desktop is a bird photo (which I change every week or so) and every sound my computer makes is a bird call (which I recorded from CDs). friends always complain "Why can't you talk about anything else besides BIRDS?" room is plastered with bird posters, bird mobiles, and 18 different bird calanders (it's true, I buy every one I find!)

...books about birds take up about 90% of my shelf space (which I use all my allowances to buy).

...I plan to adopt a Collared Scops Owl on my porch when my family objects. --Wayne Hsu

...There is a strange, but distinct correlation between the last time your house was thoroughly cleaned and the development of your birding interest.

...Your parents have all but disowned you because you will drive two hours to see a rare bird rather than drive 30 minutes to see them.

...You willingly incur the extra expense of boarding your insulin-dependent cat to make an overnight trip to see a rare bird.

...Your co-workers excitedly take you to see dead birds they find outside the building so you can tell them what kind of bird it is.--Paula Ecker stand on a -15 degree beach with your bins frozen to your head trying todiscern whether those little black dots moving left to right are either surfor black scoters --Scott Edwards

... You have gotten more than one ticket for moving violations while trying to find or get to a bird... (true story: two in California (one for "obstructing traffic"), one in North Dakota)

... You have gotten in a traffic accident looking for a bird

... You think getting in a traffic accident looking for a bird is fine if the bird was worth it

... You got out in 40-50+ mph winds and driving rain to document rarities seen on a Christmas Bird Count. I did that this year, and my glasses blew off and went skittering across the parking lot -- luckily the lenses were only scratched, not broken, and that I could still see the gray blur that was my glasses as they blew away well enough to track them down again. --Luke Cole

1) When you walk down the beach on crutches to get nothing more than a year bird (though it was a long-eared owl).

2) When 98% of the gifts you receive are bird related.

3)When, during fall migration, you walk into the office in the morning NOT wearing hikers and WITHOUT sweats under your skirt and your colleagues say "you didn't go birding this morning are you feeling o.k.?".--Dori Sosensky

... you've driven 6 hrs through complete nothingness, slept in a van at the edge of a cropfield, woken at 4:30am, spat your morning toothpaste into same said cropfield, all in order to go birding... in the Oklahoma panhandle! (Ever been to the Oklahoma panhandle? Trust me, this is fanatical.)

... the (non-birder) man you're dating sneaks out into his yard (with great stealth!) and shoots the neighborhood cat out of the tree with a very large watergun, because that's the tree in which he's hung *your* feeder... :) --Lisa Fetter

Overheard at the wedding of two birders: "Look, everyone's in breeding plumage!" -- Nancy L. Newfield

Still think these quotes are a HOOT, then go to the sequel on Fanatics II.

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