Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Birding And Butthurt: Til Death Do Us Part



This is a Great Frigatebird. It knows not of the insignificant trials and tribulations that plague the average birder. We should view it with not only awe, but envy. Photographed at Midway Atoll.

Butthurt. We all know what this means, and if we don't, let me help you. It's a frustrating, immature and stupid thing to experience, and a frustrating, immature and stupid thing to be exposed to. I've experienced the 'hurt in all manner of social situations, and if you are one of the lucky birders who actually gets to experience a social situation occasionally, you certainly have too. It can be a funny thing to watch, usually when the butthurt is not directed at you though.

What has always amazed me is how prevalent butthurt is among birders. Birders can be so goddamn sensitive and entitled...it's a horrible combination. The apparent lack of emotional maturity displayed by all ages is staggering. And hey, I'll be the first one to admit that I am no exception. Yes, I too, your #7 U.S. birder, have descended into a dismal and embarrassing state of butthurt...but these days it doesn't happen very often. They say that time heals all wounds, but it is wisdom that heals all butthurt. Like the frigatebird rides the thermals to soar majestically high above the chaos of terrestrial life, I have elevated myself above the nerdy and chronically butthurt masses...and let me tell you, it's not very crowded up here.

Today, as a gut check for the birding community, I offer you the top 25* ways that birders get butthurt. Enjoy, or get really, um...sore about it. Your call.

1. When an eBird reviewer questions your observation
2. When anyone questions your observation
3. When someone surpasses your personal list for a select region
4. When someone surpasses your personal year list record for a select region
5. When other birders suppress information about a rarity
6. When a beginner/photographer is advised to buy a field guide
7. When you miss seeing a bird on a pelagic trip
8. When someone flushes a rarity that you are watching (this is highly forgivable though)
9. When Birder X finds out Birder Y is appointed as a leader on a pelagic trip and Birder X thinks they are the better birder and should be a leader instead
10. When the Bird Police reject a record you submitted
11. When everyone thinks a rare bird is escaped/ship assisted and you don't
12. When you are looking at a bird and someone gets in your way
13. When you are photographing a bird and someone gets in your way
14. When you bait a raptor and people get pissed at you
15. When you want to get in and bird a place but they are not open yet
16. When you don't get enough attention on a guided trip
17. When birders complain about using playback and you use it all the time
18. When experienced birders discuss problems with birding/birders and you think they are being elitist
19. When everyone is using eBird, you don't and you feel left out and confused
20. When someone has a rare bird in their yard and they won't let you see it
21. When someone spots a rare bird before you do
22. When you are debating something about birding with someone who uses science to back their views and you know nothing about science
23. When you are leading a trip and someone apparently better at bird ID than you disagrees with your identification of a particular bird
24. When you come across birders who surprisingly seem to be integrated in to the rest of society
25. When someone you don't know on the internet proudly proclaims that he is the #7 U.S. birder, and you suspect your Global Birder Ranking System rank is considerably lower

Of course, there are hundreds of other ways birders can get butthurt! Feel free to add to the list in the comments. Remember, next time you feel your blood boiling over some petty bullshit, chill the fuck back. No one cares. Drink a beer or three, and come ride the mellow thermals with me and the frigatebirds.

Yours truly,

Seagull Steve
#7 U.S. Birder

* = This isn't in order, so don't let that bother you. Everything is going to be ok.

40 comments:

  1. Sweet post. If I'm reading correctly, you missed the biggest source of birding butthurt: you travel a ridiculous distance to see a bird, but dip on it. That is the moment we gaze into the abyss.

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    1. I think I would consider that genuine disappointment; butthurt is often aimed directly at a person or entity. However I am open to discussion of pure resentment aimed at birds themselves being classified as b-hurt.

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    2. When you travel a ridiculous distance to see a bird, dip on it, get home and check Sialia, and then read that the bird continues in the tree you just spent 3 hours with.

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  2. When eBird reviewers with questionable people skills reject your records without providing rationale (or communication). This is a butthurt cluster bomb if you in turn are an eBird reviewer, because reviewers that practice in this sort of thing invariably do it to many other birders, which in turn come to think of all eBird reviewers as elitist assholes, including you.

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    1. Good one! There are some shitty reviewers out there, it is known.

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  3. #12: I found a singing Mourning Warbler at Andrew Molera State Park in 2004 and right when it was about to pop up Scott and Ryan Terrill got right in front of me and got killer views. I did not get views like they did. Butthurt.

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    1. But...nobody got in the way of me watching a male Cerulean Warbler sing right above me = butthurt from Mourning cancelled out x 10 from that bird all the other goodies that spring/summer during "Molera Madness."

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    2. RYTE causing 11 years of butthurt. That is much butthurt.

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    3. Bloody Terrills! Yeah Cerulean in California can cancel out a lot of things I imagine.

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  4. When you leave Humboldt, then all your bird nerd friends get epic birds when you can't make the ridiculous drive due to real life shit. Gah! CEWA!?! EMGO!?! Why now!?! Butthurt.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Leave Humboldt = miss a ton of good birds = reality that every birder deals with that leaves Humboldt. Welcome to THAT club. ;) #7 is also in that club.

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    4. THAT club sucks. I couldn't stay!!!! #stillbutthurtbutcanaffordahousenow.

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    5. Ian there will be more EMGOs...CERW is a different matter though. Yes I am in this club...I made it up for MOST of the megas after I left, though there are too many exceptions for me to feel very comfortable about it.

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    6. I was finally able to get my CEWA! There's tons of those here in Nevada City. No longer butthurt. Hahaha! I kinda suck at bird stuff.

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  5. Add #26. When you can't ID a gull, automatically default to hybrid.

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    1. Gulls are demoralizing more than anything else, but hey maybe that's just me.

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  6. When someone tells you that the 27 blurry photos of goldfinches in your yard aren't appropriate on the state rare bird alert Facebook group.

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  7. When anyone, anywhere, at any time, dares to even THINK about using a banding code.

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    1. fuck I should have thought of that one, thats a big one!

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  8. Timely post Steve: Butthurt #27: When you find, photo and misidentify a first city record, and the photo corrector is thanked for persistence.

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    1. Brutal honesty here. Thanks for sharing.

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    2. http://goldengateaudubon.org/blog-posts/mea-culpa/

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    3. The brutalist honesty. I wonder who was the rando birder who claimed it was a NAWA...

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  9. #6 is spot on and completely inexcusable. Already been mentioned but I've found banding codes seem to generate more ire than any other topic. Another would be if you even dare to mention subspecies and such (you know it all birding elitist!)

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  10. When you are #3 in your county for the year and someone who lies about their birds passes you and now you are 4th.
    LET THE BUTTHURT FLOW THROUGH YOU MY CHILD

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    1. I have a similar thing going on for a county list in eBird at the moment. I feel your posterior pain.

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  11. Seagull, is it valid to compound the butthurt by becoming butthurt at someone else's butthurt? For example, if someone become wildly butthurt on a listserv because another person used banding codes, and much butthurt ensues, is it ok to become butthurt at the original butthurter for being butthurt?

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    1. Ooh, a butthurtplex. In this specific example I usually experience emotions that cause my eyes to roll, or perhaps pure and simple disgust, rather than being b-hurt. I think its because if Person A uses banding codes and Person B is b-hurt about it, I normally dont get b-hurt at Person B because I am not taking any of this personally. So perhaps feeling rage or hatred is more appropriate than being butthurt? That is a weird thing to say.

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  13. When a Ruff finally shows up in your inland county, but you are scheduled to lead a bird walk.

    When your bird walk has low attendance, because would-be participants are instead looking at the Ruff that just showed up in your inland county (as they should be). You head down there after the walk, but miss the bird by an hour.

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    1. Ouch. I am vicariously butthurt about that one.

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  14. When a Ruff finally shows up in your inland county, but you are scheduled to lead a bird walk.

    When your bird walk has low attendance, because would-be participants are instead looking at the Ruff that just showed up in your inland county (as they should be). You head down there after the walk, but miss the bird by an hour.

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