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Hobby superstitions, or how I got to see a cool bird in my backyard (1 Viewer)

Volvonium

Member
United States
I recently joined the forum and am a transplant from the astronomy hobby. In astronomy, there are a fair share of tongue-in-cheek superstitions, such as an amateur astronomer's innate ability to summon clouds on the day they receive cool gear. Are there such things in the birding hobby? The whimsical part of me would like to think I was granted a blessing for joining BirdForum.

You see, for the past year or so, when I've been doing astronomical observations, I've occasionally heard the screech of an owl. I'd take my eyes away from the telescope to scan the skies and sometimes I would see a pale white silhouette several hundred feet up, just quietly gliding...hunting. I had always wanted to see the owl up close, but figured it was unlikely to happen.

On the afternoon I joined BirdForum, I had just spent some time setting up my Pentax 65ED-IIA in the backyard and was testing various astronomical eyepieces on mundane backyard targets. I posted a New Member greeting post and then went back out after sundown to put my dog in and have a smoke on the bench. There was a large black silhouette of a bird on a wire and I had assumed crow or raven, but it was unnaturally still and looked a bit more at the ready. It was also on a lower wire, which I've never observed the local crows use. Something was odd.

I slinked over to my scope, took a look and realized "that's no crow!"

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I couldn't be happier and fumbled my phone to try to get a picture of it. I was able to observe it for a few moments before it took flight, likely to go after a rat, which the city is full of. I'd like to think I was bestowed a supernatural blessing by joining the forum.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Over the years I've had a few but the one that has stuck - and which the rest of my crew tends to join, perhaps just indulging me - is that if we twitch down to the South-west, as we pass Stonehenge there is a low-key nod to the stones: and on the way back a quiet "thank you" for the success of the trip.

It started as a bit of a joke, but after many years I now simply daren't not do it!

John
 

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
United States
Lucky you guy! I hear them in the evening all the time but never get to see them due to all the Pine trees surrounding my yard so they are well hidden.

Congrats to you!
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
In astronomy, there are a fair share of tongue-in-cheek superstitions, such as an amateur astronomer's innate ability to summon clouds on the day they receive cool gear. Are there such things in the birding hobby?

Every year, over the course of one weekend in January, half a million people take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. On the same weekend, for 48 hours, millions of birds are mysteriously missing from peoples’ gardens. 😉

 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
Over the years I've had a few but the one that has stuck - and which the rest of my crew tends to join, perhaps just indulging me - is that if we twitch down to the South-west, as we pass Stonehenge there is a low-key nod to the stones: and on the way back a quiet "thank you" for the success of the trip.

It started as a bit of a joke, but after many years I now simply daren't not do it!

John
White, hooded robe for xmas for you then and maybe a book of druid chants.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
I know there is no basis in logic, but I feel like bringing a camera is a guarantee I will not see anything interesting
I went through a phase of that, for which reason I still don't have pictures of some major rarities. I discovered eventually that not having my camera when I wanted it was worse than the suspicion that the presence of my camera had jinxed the twitch.

John
 

Parker

Uncomfortably Numb.
Not really about birding but when we visit my son in North Wales we pass through a village called Pant in between Welshpool & Oswestry so just for a laugh we pant. I doubt we’re on our own.
 

KenM

Well-known member
I know there is no basis in logic, but I feel like bringing a camera is a guarantee I will not see anything interesting
I’ve brought individually a camera and a camera phone at separate times years apart, encountering a “rare” on each occasion, only to be so “staggered” by my good fortune!...that I completely forgot about my recording equipment on my person!!.....😮😮
 

Allen

Well-known member
Over the years I've had a few but the one that has stuck - and which the rest of my crew tends to join, perhaps just indulging me - is that if we twitch down to the South-west, as we pass Stonehenge there is a low-key nod to the stones: and on the way back a quiet "thank you" for the success of the trip.

It started as a bit of a joke, but after many years I now simply daren't not do it!

John
Clearly John I spent too much time with you on trips South West in years gone by as I also do the same!
 

Jeff Hopkins

Just another...observer
United States
On a business trip in China, I took a side trip to see the Chinese Crested Tern. I hired a guide who had also invited another client, who was one of the leading listers in the world. He needed all of 6 birds in China, one of which was the tern.

Before we went to look for the bird, we stopped to pick up some lunch. At that point, the guide pulled out some postcards with a picture of the tern and handed one to each of us. He said "You can send these to a friend back home and tell them you saw the tern." The other birder and I looked at each other apprehensively: "Ummm, not until we actually see the bird."

I think you know how it turned out. No tern.
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
He said "You can send these to a friend back home and tell them you saw the tern." The other birder and I looked at each other apprehensively: "Ummm, not until we actually see the bird."

I think you know how it turned out. No tern.
Hey, fake trip reports - way to drum up business 😂
 

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