Tuesday, October 18, 2011

That's Not How I Would Have Done It

Birders are hilarious, especially when they find themselves on the internet. We communicate a lot using email lists, and it is quite frequent to find people overreacting and acting phenomenally douchey. Below is a message recently posted to a list, in response to a Marsh Sandpiper (a fucking staggering rarity) found just south of the border in Baja California.

"Yes, of course, go for a tick mark on your list, and end up another blood (drug) cartel statistic. Worse than burning fossil fuels for your tick mark on a piece of paper, play Russian roulette for your list total. Even have a close friend who is extremely high on the Mexico list who says "no way" he's trying for it due to the dangers of going down there. You know, I hope you don't have to worry about your conscience if someone goes for the tick bird and comes back in a pine box, that is if he/she's corpse is even found. Maybe best to also note to use caution in 'chasing' a bird for one's list don't you think to somewhere who has a higher death rate recently from what's going on down there than Vietnam or World War I?"

As someone who was actually recently robbed at gunpoint in Mexico by a large group of armed men, I still find this hilarious. Sure there may be some truth in what he says, but idly mentioning going birding and coming back in a pine box is a bit over the fucking top, don't you think? The part about mentioning fossil fuels is quite good too, as I know for a fact this man just went all the way to St. Paul Island, Alaska, for the specific purpose of finding rare birds.

Look buddy...if you can't take the heat...stay out of the kitchen! And if you don't learn something called "tact", no one will give a damn about what you say, truth or not. Now, off to birdwatching charm school with you.


  1. There was a good dust up on the Monterey Bay Bird list in regards to yellow-green vireo and someone calling out the original poster for a mis-ID in a pretty snotty way. It was a rarity but ID'ed correctly.

    Your above post though takes the cake.

  2. appropos of not-your-post, I LOVE the new photo at the top of your blog. SOOO minimalist and COOOOL. Thassit.

  3. I simply don't get this, Steve. What exactly are you saying? If we're not willing to DIE for our passion, then whatever any of us do is not worth beans? Quite honestly, I don't find this funny at all. Makes me think that the Dakotas aren't so bad after all. Birders befuddle me.

  4. i hope this dude posts stuff in az. i would think of it as a lister statistic, not a cartel statistic. imagine if marsh sandpiper was your last bird? viva la that.

  5. @JK - I found myself getting sucked into these online tiffs quite often back in the day...so tempting!

    @BB - Thanks! I wish you could see the other raven's head, but I suppose we will all have to live with it.

    @Katie - There are a lot of dimensions to why this is funny, mostly rooting in his fictional account of Mexico and insulting the gentleman who was kind enough to share this impressive find with the birding community. Inferring you are more likely to die on a quick day trip to see this bird (it is less than 40 miles from the U.S. border) than in combat in Vietnam is laughable. I'm not saying people should treat travelling in Mexico as lightly as they do here, but you don't have to be a pompous prick to warn people.

  6. You're controversial now Steve. Trolls will arrive at your page just to insult you. Seriously though, you were robbed at gunpoint? Must have scared the bejesus out of you. Are you okay? I'm asking myself why I'm the only one who noticed this part of the post?

  7. Thanks for the explanation, Steve. I totally misread your post. Birding culture still strikes me as odd, and your blog has helped me understand it a little bit. Regardless, there are always jerks out there, birders or not, especially through the internet.

    Anne, Steve posted about his "donation" to the Mexican Army here: http://seagullsteve.blogspot.com/2011/02/i-see-same-face-in-every-new-direction.html

  8. Man, the Oregon and Washington lists are never this exciting. The last heated argument I remember was when this guy asked if he could get rid of starlings in his yard by shooting them.

    Good stuff. Made me think about that Phoebe Snetsinger book...

  9. Steve, awesome post. Monte Taylor (whoops, was I not supposed to mention his name in public?) is a well known fool amongst the birding types, so I wasn't too surprised to see his post crop up on CALBIRDS. Amusing, none-the-less.

    @Jen: You may not have jackasses of this scale in the NW, but you do have some remarkable idiots, as well as the immortal Ruth Sullivan.


  10. @Anonymous - Arizona is filled with douchey birders! You don't need any more.

    @Anne - My embarrassing/annoying robbery is old news around these parts...it happened last January on a road trip in Mexico. We camped where most of us felt we should not, and paid the price.

    @Katie - The internet brings out the worst in people. I now have this lovely platform to pick on the birders, however.

    @Jen - That would have been a good thread to read. I think you actually CAN get rid of starlings by shooting them...maybe not in the suburbs though.

    @Brady - I can't remember if I've ever met him or not...Ive been removed from SoCal birding for too long. I'll be on the lookout for more of his gems now.

  11. not only is the guy a douche, his photography is terrible--check out his website. and he claims to be a Canon Pro Photog. There's hundreds of people doing better work than him.

    the Utah list had some great dust-ups until the douchiest members decided they needed to make their own list.

  12. That exlains it. I wasn't blogging in January and the word recently made me think, well, recently. Okay now, everyone go back to arguing.