Thursday, May 18, 2006

Descriptive Terms for Birders

I thought it would be fun to see what adjectives are most frequently associated with birders on the Internet. If the Google search engine is to be believed, the typical birder is experienced (about 21,200 hits), serious (13,600), and focused on the birds of his or her backyard (24,400). Birders are also described as crazy (933), beginner(s) (925), keen (821), professional (586), active (527), average (325), dedicated (302), renowned (267), excellent (262), seasoned (226), accomplished (202), obsessed (87), intrepid (76), obsessive (48), superb (42), super (41), outstanding (36), successful (20), ambitious (18), stealthy (17), compulsive (13), elite (12), helpful (11), and quiet (11).

On the other hand, birders are rarely if ever described as affluent (rather surprising, considering some of the statistics that I’ve seen), arrogant, chic, crafty, creative, devious, elitist, envious, erudite, esteemed, fun-loving, furtive, gentle, glamorous, handsome (the lone exception apparently being the title character in the Jonathan Wilder Mysteries), ingenious, intelligent, jealous, lonely, nasty, peevish, peripatetic, perplexed, reclusive, rich (see comments under affluent), rude, savvy, secretive, sexy, shy, smart, sneaky, superlative, surreptitious, or wily.

Can you suggest other adjectives that have been used to describe birders?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't believe I saw anything in the nerdy/geeky suite on your list.

I love this and the other ideas you've been exploring recently. How about submitting something to I and the Bird?

May 20, 2006 9:00 AM  
Blogger Juliabohemian said...

is there a word to describe someone who tries to go birding with her 3 and 5 year old and spends the whole time trying to keep them quiet so she can actually hear/see something?

May 20, 2006 9:23 PM  
Blogger John L. Trapp said...


Thanks for the kind comments. You would think that geeky and nerdy would rank right up there as descriptive terms for birders (you're probably too young to remember the nerdy bird-watching lady on the Beverly Hillbillies), but they don't. I guess birders just don't see themselves as geeky or nerdy!

May 21, 2006 8:25 AM  
Blogger John L. Trapp said...


How 'bout "Momma birder?" Disadvantaged, frustrated, and exasperated are three ofther adjectives that come to mind. Patient and tolerant might also apply. But regardless, I admire your perseverance in pursuing birding under somewhat trying circumstances.

May 21, 2006 8:31 AM  

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