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a blog by and for Utah Birders

Hit the deck

posted by Oliver Hansen at
on Monday, February 4, 2013 

I usually find that a little humor is a good way to lighten up the oppressive feelings of Monday morning. So here you go:
As a lingering group of birders were scoping out a flock of a thousand-ish gulls near the end of the trip on Saturday, a mallard flew overhead. At least one of the gulls mistook this waterfowl for a raptor and took off. The rest followed. Several thousand gulls all taking flight at the same time is a pretty amazing site. Most of us stopped looking through our scopes and instantly raised our binoculars to our eyes to see if we could pick out any random rare-looking gulls in flight. The sense of amazement soon turned to panic as what moments before was a dazzling aerial display quickly became an aerial assault  - on our dignity. Amazingly enough, no birders were taken casualty to the onslaught of droppings, but there were many that were too close for comfort. After this experience I think the phrase "hit the deck" needs to become part of the birding vernacular.
On a somewhat related note, Jeff mentioned to a few of us while walking around Lake Park a shirt that he had seen (heard of?, owned?) that had various drawings of whitewash with the names of different birds underneath… a sort of Bird Poop Identification guide on a shirt. I tried looking to see if this shirt existed online somewhere and could only come up with this:

Click on the pic to read a pretty good story about bird poop helping someone get into college.

Someone also mentioned that someone had actually made a bird poop ID Field guild that you could buy to give to someone as a gag-gift (or maybe as a conversation piece to go on your coffee table?). I found a few bird crap related options that could make a good gag-birthday present for that hard-to-shop-for birder in your life that already owns every guide on the planet:
One of my favorite webcomics XKCD.com started a side-project where you can email the author any question you can imagine and he will answer it using actual science. One of the earliest questions he answered was this: “If you went outside and lay down on your back with your mouth open, how long would you have to wait until a bird pooped in it?” He goes through the math of it and comes up with a rough estimate of 195 years. Click HERE to see for yourself.
Another interesting bird poop related topic is how many creatures have evolved a defense mechanism to actually camouflage themselves as bird poop. Check out this blog post for some crazy bird poop look-a-likes:  Blog. Here is an example:

Crazy what things you’ll find by google-ing the words Bird and Poop. Who knew?
Next time a large flock of birds flies over head, make sure to resist the urge to stare straight up as they fly overhead. If you can't resist, at least make sure your mouth is closed. Come to think of it, I got nailed by a starling about a week ago. Good thing I wasn't looking up at the time.
No matter how bad your Monday is going, it’s probably not as bad as this guy’s:

Angry Birds
Do you have any good stories of getting nailed by our feathered friends flying overhead?

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Blogger Tim Avery said...

Awesome. I have the book "What Bird did that?". Ah bird crap.

February 4, 2013 at 1:37 PM  
Blogger Kenny Frisch said...

I once was driving with my sun roof down while driving and had bird poop land right next to me. Luckily I wasn't hit but whatever bird did it I'm sure got bonus points for pooping into a sunroof.

February 4, 2013 at 10:55 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Good story. I almost got hit when those gulls flew over. One bomb landed a few inches behind my shoe. I was the one who mentioned the shirt with the dropping identification on it. I will have to see if I still have it hidden somewhere.

February 5, 2013 at 8:36 AM  
Blogger Tim Avery said...

My freshman year of college a group of friends were sitting around when a pigeon dropped a bomb on my roommate. That one wasn't soon forgotten by us.

I have more gull crap stories than I would like to admit, but my personal favorite bird crap story was during the 2007 Salt Lake CBC, when Jeff, Carl, and I were on the Bountiful Bench and came across a huge flock of Bohemian Waxwings. Every time the birds took flight it was time to duck and cover. In the car you could hear the, "ping! ping! ping! ping!" of the crap landing on the car as the flock swirled above.

February 5, 2013 at 8:41 AM  
Blogger Kenny Frisch said...


That's scary with the waxwing poop since they eat fruit and it makes their poop colorful and easier to stain things.

February 5, 2013 at 12:39 PM  
Anonymous Margaret Sloan said...

There was only one available parking space in the motel parking lot and it was under a tree--nice to be in the shade in Texas. I learned the hard way why it hadn't been taken. It was a roosting place for grackles! When I went out the next morning, my car was not just spotted, but blanketed it bird poop! Let this be a warning :-)

February 6, 2013 at 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Bird Removal NJ said...

I wish bird poop could get me a scholarship!

January 8, 2016 at 2:43 PM  

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