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Old Wednesday 23rd April 2003, 23:35   #1
Simon A
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Birding parlance

Birding (like any other hobby/fixation) has its own language, as numerous writers on the topic have attested (Bill Oddie, Mark Cocker, etc). Therefore, does anyone have any favourites that they have used or heard...and indeed any phrases or vernacular that you loathe?

The gems that I've heard are "Whop and go", meaning a very efficient twitch, derived from the haircare product Wash and Go presumably.

Also rather like PG Tips for Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler.

Conversely, absolutely loathe the abbreviation of Grasshopper Warbler to "Gropper"!

Anyone else heard any corkers?

Cheers,
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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 00:46   #2
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I think the terms from the UK are far more colorful and interesting than any we have here in the US.

I think some of our colloquial nicknames are rather fun, tho. My favorite is "Butterbutt" for the Yellow-Rumped (Myrtle) Warbler -- and they do have the brighest yellow patch on their bums, visible through their wingtips when perched.

We don't twitch, tick or dip, we chase and miss. See? Not nearly as colorful!

And how DID 'dip' come to be used for missing a target bird, anyway?
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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 08:25   #3
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I hate "Sprawk" for Sparrowhawk, but I personally tend to shorten bird names by using "ies".

Hooded Crows become Hoodies
Bearded Tits become Beardies,
and being a Yorkshire Lad, Sparrows have always been Spuggies.

And I have been known to call the aforementioned Sprawk and Spuggiehawk.

BTW Beverlybaynes, I expect someone will come up with chapter and verse on "dip", but I have used "dipped" or "dipped out" for meaning missing out on anything since long before I knew it as a birding term.
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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 10:35   #4
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Shortened names are common here, too, but once again, we're sometimes using the same word for different species. "Hoodies" here are usually Hooded Mergansers.

"Peeps" can refer to any number of small shorebirds.
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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 12:14   #5
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Here we call Sparrows 'Spadgers'
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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 12:22   #6
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'gripped off' (as used by twitchers to mean that they pulled one over their fellow twitchers) is as ugly as 'groppers' imo.
Ever been gripped off by a gropper?

Barwits and spotshanks, though practical, lack charm.

Still prefer 'dunnock' to hedge accentor (and how do you pronounce accentor?
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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 15:47   #7
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Easy - you don't pronounce 'accentor' . . just stick with Dunnock!

After all, it's a non-word, a contrivance. It has no meaning. A conductor conducts, so presumably an accentor accents. Have you ever seen a hedge that has been accented by a 'hedge accentor'??

Anyone remember Harrison's Atlas of the Birds of the Western Palaearctic? (c. 1982). He very sensibly used Dunnock for all of the Prunella species, so Siberian Dunnock, Black-throated Dunnock, Radde's Dunnock, Alpine Dunnock. Much nicer. Dunnock actually means something (Dun, brown, + -ock, small bird, so Dunnock is the original Little Brown Bird)

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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 16:06   #8
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Let's not forget "pishing" (you know, that noise you make that sounds like you're really calling cats!)

and
Mourning Dove: "Mo Do"
Sharp Shinned Hawk: "Sharpie"
Mockingbird: "Mocker"

I've heard Mergansers called "Mergs"

My favorite is "Butterbutt" .....
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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 16:09   #9
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I like the abbreviation 'LBJ' - 'little brown job' for those unremarkable birds twitchers spend 2000 hiring helicopters to get them to remote Shetland islands to see. Sadly my identification skills means this particular TLA (Three letter abbreviation) is used in my field notebook more often than I would like to admit!!
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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 16:37   #10
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Don't forget the following:

Lesserpecker for Lesser spotted woodpecker

Fudge duck for ferruginous duck

Tufties for tufted duck.

Stormies for Storm Petrels

Bonxies for Great Skua

and Comic Terns for not knowing if they are Arctic or Common Terns.

There will be plenty more. Perhaps we ought to make a glosary of terms!!
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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 16:45   #11
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Willowchiff when the buggers stop singing.
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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 16:48   #12
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Tystie for Black Guillemot (Tystie is actually the older name for it, dates back to the Vikings)

Barwit & Blackwit for the two Godwits

Some silly ones . .
'Gubbie' - GBB (Gull)
'Keddie' - Black-'eaded Gull
Whopper Swan - :-))
Wixwang (saw 3 of these today from my garden!)

Partly identifieds . . .
Marlow Tits (Marsh/Willow)
Shagorants (Shag/Cormorant)
Willowchaff (Willow Warbler/Chiffchaff)
Hippos (Hippolais warblers - Icterine, Melodious, Olivaceous, etc)

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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 16:54   #13
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I'm with Birdman with a hatred of Sprawk / Spawk / Sphawk which I've heard used for Sparrow Hawk, all of which sound like some nasty character in a Mervin Peake novel

If we used that sort of abbreviation for the Ferruginous Duck, we would end up with a rude work that sounds like duck.
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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 16:58   #14
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Hi Paul,

Too true - Ferruginous Duck, like Corn Bunting, is also a bird which should not be spoonerised . .

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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 17:19   #15
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I usually use S***e Hawk for feral pigeons, since they've done it on me far more than Gulls. I believe the original term was applied by the Soldiers of the Raj in India to the Kite Hawks.

Has anyone else any 'pet' names for birds - for instance, Robins are called 'George', Blackbirds are called 'Charlie', Sparrows are called 'Gus', Crows and Starlings are both called 'Joe', Wrens are called 'Jenny' (obviously), and Chaffinches are called 'Pink' (or Syd). ?

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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 17:50   #16
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Rose-coloured has two that I like - Pink Stink for the adults ( a bit of a shame as they're a nice bird) and Fawn Yawn for the juveniles (very appropriate).
How about Grotfinch for Scarlet rosefinch (1st winters and females).
All are widely used, I believe.
Here on the IOM, we have quite a few Hooded Crows which are known as 'Greybacks' or the hooded/ Carrion crow hybrids are sometimes referred to a 'Greybrids'.
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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 18:03   #17
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What a great thread you've started Simon A.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed.

Doug, I have heard Sparrows called Spadgers, although I don't think it is common round here. Like I said, we call 'em Spuggies.

For overseas members, and any Brits who don't know, my and Doug's respective home towns are only about 25 miles apart, and yet we use different names. I await with interest any input from digi-birders, who splits the diference between us!

I've said elsewhere on the forum that I also have an interest in Language, and regional names for birds are of particular interest to me.

If you've got a similar interest, then you might like the following book, (which I'm gonna plug for the third time on BF!)

British Birds, their Folklore, Names and Literature (Francesca Greenoak)

For the record, I'm not on commission, but p'r'aps I should be!
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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 19:11   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by birdman
What a great thread you've started Simon A.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed.

Doug, I have heard Sparrows called Spadgers, although I don't think it is common round here. Like I said, we call 'em Spuggies.

For overseas members, and any Brits who don't know, my and Doug's respective home towns are only about 25 miles apart, and yet we use different names. I await with interest any input from digi-birders, who splits the diference between us!
Spuggies in Ardsley, Nr Barnsley where I grew up!
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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 19:27   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by birdman
For overseas members, and any Brits who don't know, my and Doug's respective home towns are only about 25 miles apart, and yet we use different names. I await with interest any input from digi-birders, who splits the diference between us!
I only heard the term 'spuggies' a little while ago. The Sparrow has always been a spadge to me. I first heard this term many years ago, when I was a child, (well, not that many years ago - ahem!) spoken by my sister's ex-husband. I think he hailed from the Derby area.
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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 19:50   #20
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I am guilty of making up names mainly to give the bird an affectionate handle. An example was calling a Sedge Warbler a Sedgie recently. I do not know that many names as I am quite fresh to birding.

I have dipped out on a Dipper! Dip out must be a pure birding term as it is not in my dictionary of Idioms. I think it must be because when running about all over for a bird and not getting it you dip your body with sad resignation?
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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 20:21   #21
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Shy-Talks ..... a common species that doesn't seem to be in any book I've looked in.

T0ny touched on the reasoning behind the name.
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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 21:40   #22
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Birdman, Alan.

Very interesting about the sparrows. Although I have lived in Cornwall for many years I grew up in Featherstone West Yorkshire and we called them "spoggies"

By 'eck - accents eh!!

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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 21:49   #23
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Kevin,

Steve Madge told me a very funny tale last week about a holiday he and some friends had in Ireland one Christmas many years ago. On Boxing day he heard a knock at the door and answered it to find some very drunken Irishmen announcing that they were the "wren boys" Steve misheard them and thought they said "rent boys" - I'll leave you to think up your own ending to that!!!!

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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 22:14   #24
Andy Bright
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Someone mentioned accents..... I still can't get over the people I've talked to on-line for years, suddenly turn out to have american accents when you eventually chat to them on the phone or meet them. I'd presumed everyone on the net had an Thames estuary accent like myself

Spadgers down here! And I usually end up calling wobblers instead of Warblers.
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Old Thursday 24th April 2003, 22:22   #25
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I know this is going off at a tangent slightly, but speaking of accents...

I have a couple of Sikh friends, and I'm also partial to Indian Food and so frequent the local curry-serving establishments as often as possible.

Consequently, I KNOW that all Asian people speak with a Yorkshire Accent.

So imagine my surprise on visiting the Everest in Fort William, to hear the waiters etc. speaking Scottish!?!?!?!

OK.. now you can go back to bird names....
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