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The Birding Mafia

posted by Jerry Liguori at
on Saturday, October 6, 2012 

Have you ever been scared to death while bird watching? I don't mean on a boat rocking in the ocean or on a steep cliff edge…I mean scared that you were gonna get beaten up for misidentifying a bird or disagreeing on a certain topic?

I was birding with a few guys today (pictured here, no names given for my own security), and I was frightened…I mean, look at how pissed off they are. Would you be scared to birdwatch with these guys? One of the guys smiled a few times, but I don't think the other two cracked even a half-smile during the day. I made them coffee and fed them at lunch time, but they still looked at me as if to say "hey, watch what you say." We saw a Goshawk the very first bird of the day….great views, it did everything you want -- it soared, it flapped, it showed it's topside, and the response from the 3 goons was "yeah, whatever." Then we had a gorgeous flock of White Pelicans in a blue sky, just soaring and moving in unison. I stated "Man, I love pelicans, I just love the way they move"…the three goons just looked at me without a word but their eyes said "dude, really, pelicans…really?" Oh god, did I just say the wrong thing, please nooooooo. I mean, we were on a hillside with no one else around, these guys could throw me off the cliff and I'd never be found. When I said "the wind isn't the right wind for seeing many hawks today", they said "you better find a Broad-winged or your ass is grass….if you could even identify one." Man was I in over my head. When they asked me what projects I was working on these days, I told them. One responded "is it going to flop like your books." One of the birds we saw today was a Cooper's Hawk that was so close we could almost grab it (photo above, click to enlarge). I was pretty excited, but when I saw them mocking me for showing an emotion, I felt nervous (and uncool).

When I asked them to pose for a picture, this is what I got? These are birdwatchers? These guys scare me. I thought "watch my back and temper my words." They asked me what lens I was using and when I told them, they just scoffed and muttered "pffffff, loser." Be careful if you run into these guys in the field, in fact…walk the other way!!! And, don't misidentify a bird in front of them, you are asking for a beat-down.

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Blogger Tim Avery said...

Go that guy sitting on the left looks like a real jerk... You really should have showed them a Broad-winged Hawk.

October 6, 2012 at 6:06 PM  
Blogger shyloh monster said...

Probably quite a contrast from watching raptors with the always grinning village idiot.

That's coop's is ridiculous!

October 6, 2012 at 6:11 PM  
Anonymous Mark Stackhouse said...

Yeah, I recognize those ruffians. I've even birded with them. I tried once to shake loose from one of them by getting a large flock of gulls to attack, but he dodged.

Tough crew, those guys.

I'm guessing you dipped on the BWHA. Enjoy your life with a fatwa hanging over you, Jerry . . .

October 6, 2012 at 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Mark Stackhouse said...

Of course, rumor has it that they suck at Big Days . . .

October 6, 2012 at 11:27 PM  
Blogger Kenny Frisch said...

Jerry, I think everyone knows who the mafia don is...

October 7, 2012 at 8:50 PM  
Blogger Tim Avery said...

@Mark: How many did you get on your first Utah Big Day? Don't worry though, your record may not have fallen this year, but it's only a matter of tries before 202 is #2.

@Kenny: why do you think he took the picture?

October 8, 2012 at 11:06 AM  
Anonymous jerry said...

Was fun....gos was great and Jeff anf I had a 3rd year Golden a while later

October 8, 2012 at 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Mark Stackhouse said...

@Tim: The very first of my big days didn't include Washington County. The first time we did a Big Day starting in Washington County, we had 180. We've done ten that netted 180-202.

But I hope you get close enough to make us want to try and bump our 202 up a bit!

Of course, since I'm working on breaking 250 here, and eventually cracking the N America record of 264, a mere 200 seems not very exciting . . .

October 9, 2012 at 6:57 PM  

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