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Should birdwatchers wear black?

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Old Thursday 9th May 2019, 22:54   #1
Colin 57
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Should birdwatchers wear black?

I have heard more than once of people buying brightly coloured bird feeders, only to find that the birds won't go near them. Birds seem to avoid unfamiliar colours until after some indeterminate length of time, they get used to them.

I remember one occasion, at quite an isolated spot a runner in dayglow kit went past, although a little distance away, everything dissapeared.

I often wear black because a lot of good outdoor wear is that colour. Although a consevative colour, black is not a common colour in the countryside. Many times I have had it explained to me by dog walkers that the reason their dog is harassing me is because I'm wearing black!

Should birdwatchers wear, if not camouflage colours, then at least some kind of dingey green or brown colour, not because of whether birds see us or not, but of what they think of us?
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Old Thursday 9th May 2019, 23:19   #2
RafaelMatias
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I usually use light green or something similar, for trousers. I personally avoid black because of ticks (they're harder to detect crawling over black).
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Old Friday 10th May 2019, 19:30   #3
osprey123
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Nearly all my feeders are bright colours and they have been really successful over the years. Nevertheless, wouldn't be seen out birding in bright dayglow colours!

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Old Friday 10th May 2019, 19:40   #4
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OOOoooops...!! I obviously mis-read the thread!! Apologies for this!! As the thread was in the "Outdoor clothing" forum I just assumed it was actually about clothing and totally missed it was about bird feeders! I'm not going nuts yet, in case that crossed your mind
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Old Friday 10th May 2019, 19:55   #5
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I think the factor you have to remember though is that birds' eyes see in different wavelengths to us, and so what we percieve as inconspicuous looking might not actually be so to them, particularly when additives to washing liquids etc have stuff in there to make clothes seem brighter.

Personally, never worn camoflage, but tend to wear blues/greens/browns/greys anyway and never been aware of them causing any issues.

I'd also suggest in my experience anyway, that noise and sudden movements tend to be more the cause of flushing than just the presence of the person, which would probably account for that neon clad runner?
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Old Saturday 11th May 2019, 13:07   #6
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Generally black is OK for birds, although dull green, brown or grey are even better. Colors should be dull, not glossy.
Black is not good for night mammals, which eyes are good for spotting contrasts.

However, more important is, among others, that you move calmly and slowly (but not stealthy. Birds are often unafraid of oridinary bypassers and wary of people behaving unusually).
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Old Saturday 11th May 2019, 19:52   #7
Gaz Shilton
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Many times I have had it explained to me by dog walkers that the reason their dog is harassing me is because I'm wearing black!

Their dog is harassing you because it's not trained very well. Not because you're wearing black!!
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Old Tuesday 14th May 2019, 19:24   #8
Colin 57
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Yes jurek, I agree birds are good readers of body language and wary of anything stealthy and predator like. I think they notice the tension in the movements especially if also you are staring straight at them or moving straight towards them.

Of course there are places where birds are very used to people and are not alarmed by any colour clothing, but I am beginning to suspect that in open deserted countryside such as marshes a new jet black being appearing in the landscape might be quite striking and concerning to them.
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Old Tuesday 14th May 2019, 20:00   #9
Jos Stratford
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RafaelMatias View Post
OOOoooops...!! I obviously mis-read the thread!! Apologies for this!! As the thread was in the "Outdoor clothing" forum I just assumed it was actually about clothing and totally missed it was about bird feeders! I'm not going nuts yet, in case that crossed your mind
It is about clothes :) Bird feeders were just for comparison in the way birds react to them.
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Old Thursday 16th May 2019, 23:54   #10
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Originally Posted by Gaz Shilton View Post
Many times I have had it explained to me by dog walkers that the reason their dog is harassing me is because I'm wearing black!

Their dog is harassing you because it's not trained very well. Not because you're wearing black!!
You never know, maybe it is very well trained, just specifically for catching Goths and/or ninjas?
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Old Friday 17th May 2019, 00:12   #11
Chosun Juan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin 57 View Post
I have heard more than once of people buying brightly coloured bird feeders, only to find that the birds won't go near them. Birds seem to avoid unfamiliar colours until after some indeterminate length of time, they get used to them.

I remember one occasion, at quite an isolated spot a runner in dayglow kit went past, although a little distance away, everything dissapeared.

I often wear black because a lot of good outdoor wear is that colour. Although a consevative colour, black is not a common colour in the countryside. Many times I have had it explained to me by dog walkers that the reason their dog is harassing me is because I'm wearing black!

Should birdwatchers wear, if not camouflage colours, then at least some kind of dingey green or brown colour, not because of whether birds see us or not, but of what they think of us?
I would have said wear as much camo as possible, but once when going for an early morning start all day photography session while wearing camo, with a friend who had even more camo on (gloves, balaclava, face and cover netting, with full camera, lens and tripod camo too) we encountered two walkers at the start of a dirt track. We both had huge telephoto lenses, and the walkers, startled, stepped back and said "you're not terrorists are you !?!" ..... more serious than not.


How long before some innocent photographer is shot? or taken out remotely with a drone strike?!




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Last edited by ClarkWGriswold : Friday 17th May 2019 at 12:37. Reason: Keep to birding please.
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Old Friday 17th May 2019, 05:39   #12
Chosun Juan
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Cool

From the funny file, but nonetheless ...... given the photographer's habit of sneaking around trying to remain undetected, and ubiquitous global surveillance - you'd hate to be taken out like some sort of video game bogey ..............

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Old Friday 17th May 2019, 12:43   #13
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As Alex quite rightly pointed out, could we keep to birding topics please folks.

Thanks,

Rich
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Old Friday 17th May 2019, 12:48   #14
Simon Wates
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I personally believe that unless one is still and waiting, camo gear isn't much of a benefit - I think that even wearing fluorescent pink doesn't make much of difference. The birds are expert vigilantes and are always perching on the dark side of the branch in our presence. Of course field craft counts! (By the way - I tend to wear greys, blacks and greens out birding - I save the fluorescent pink for my free time )
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