Tuesday, May 23, 2006

More Descriptive Terms for Birders

In addition to this earlier list of adjectives attributed to birders by the Google search engine, we find that birders are also described as lucky (about 1,470 “hits”), pro (323), full-time (210), young (199), knowledgeable (194), amateur (101), lone (70), happy (54), disabled (40), exceptional (38), devoted (34), teen (34), patient (32), prominent (28), part-time (25), and excited (18). In total, I have found 43 descriptive terms that have been commonly associated with birders, the most frequently used (each with 1,000 or more "hits") being backyard, experienced, lucky, and serious.

By contrast, birders are rarely if ever described as able-bodied, aloof, amiable, assertive, athletic, bleary-eyed, controversial, dapper, disadvantaged, eccentric (how odd!), ecstatic, educated, euphoric, exasperated, excitable, funky, funny, fussy, frustrated, geeky, inane, incompetent, innovative (Kenn Kaufman seems to be the sole birder to have earned this attribution), insensitive, kinky, muscular, odd (ditto too), pathetic, provocative, quirky (ditto once again), restless, skeptical, sophisticated, sultry (compared to more than 11,000 “hits” for sultry actress), tanned, terrible, or well-dressed, to name just a few. Combined with the earlier list, this makes 72 terms rarely if ever applied to birders (and I'm sure that's just the proverbial tip of the iceberg). This is all most interesting, except that I've always considered birders to be a rather eccentric, odd, and quirky bunch of people (at least the ones I've known). Have I been wrong about that all these years?


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