Date: 6/20/20 10:52 am
From: Gary Fugle <fuglega...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Helping others get on a good bird
Paul,

Thanks for writing this out so well. I've tried to impart this kind of
mindset to learning birders for years, both in bird ID classes and
individually. It's funny how difficult it is for some to perceive what is
necessary to help others get onto a bird. I'm guessing most of us have
experienced someone excitedly repeating, "In the fork of the tree," while
the rest are wondering which tree out of six and where to look for the fork
within the tree. I'm sure what you provided here can help a lot. And I
really appreciate your advice to praise the finder and to humbly encourage
everyone.

Gary F.
Manzanita

On Sat, Jun 20, 2020 at 9:26 AM Paul Sullivan <paultsullivan...>
wrote:

> Recently I was birding with friends who found a good bird. I wanted to
> see the bird, but they struggled to help me get on it. It was frustrating.
>
>
>
> I have been leading bird walks and trips for nearly 40 years, and I’ve
> developed some techniques for helping others get on a bird quickly. I’ve
> written an article for publication that I hope will come out in the
> not-too-distant future. Meanwhile, let me offer a brief summary.
>
>
>
> COMMUNICATE
>
> If you find a good bird the first step is to communicate. Don’t stammer
> and say, “I don’t know how to tell you where it is.” Communicate all that
> you know, not just “hawk!”, but ‘Hawk flying, on the right side of the
> road, going left, below the horizon.” Don’t make people ask, “Is it
> flying? Which side of the road?” Which way is it going?”
>
>
>
> MOVING BIRD
>
> If the bird is moving, time is of the essence. Say if the bird is flying,
> swimming, or walking and which way it’s going.
>
> Divide the scene into quadrants: Which side of the road, above or below
> the horizon, ahead of the car or behind, on the fence or in the road.
>
>
>
> PERCHED BIRD – LOWER YOUR BINOCULARS TO SEE CONTEXT
>
> If the bird is perched and hard to find, look carefully with your
> binoculars. Note the branches near it. Lock onto the bird with your eyes,
> lock your neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists. Then swivel JUST YOUR SHOULDERS
> to lower your binoculars and see the bird with your naked eye. Note the
> surroundings, the context. Put your binoculars back up and refind the
> bird. Do this a couple times to make sure you have the location. This
> only takes a few seconds.
>
>
>
> Once you have the “big picture” of where the bird is, DEVELOP A NARRATIVE
> to lead others to the spot. Pick out an unambiguous landmark in the area
> and lead others from that landmark to the bird.
>
>
>
> Example: Across the prairie there are two red barns. Start with the
> right-hand barn. In front of it, slightly right, is a lone Ponderosa pine
> in a fence row. Count 5 fence posts to the right of that tree and you’ll
> find the Great Gray Owl.
>
>
>
> Example: Out here in the flats there are 3 strips of water. Look at the
> farthest strip. In the middle of that strip, on the near shore, next to a
> tall brown weed is a shorebird, facing right. That is a Willet.
>
>
>
> GET PEOPLE ON THE RIGHT TREE BEFORE YOU DESCRIBE THE BRANCH
>
> Before you get down to the detail of where the bird is, describing a
> branch with a funny crook, crossing in front of another branch, you need to
> get people on the right tree, then on the left side of the trunk, then in
> the top 10 feet of the tree, then half-way out from the trunk to the tip of
> the branch.
>
>
>
> Example: Look at this big P. pine right here. Go back to the maple behind
> it on the left. The birds are in that tree. Look at the longest branch on
> the left side of the maple. Go up one more branch which is just above the
> horizon. Half way out on that branch are two Band-tailed Pigeons.
>
>
>
> REPEAT
>
> Next, repeat your directions for the person who came late to the
> narrative. Say the name of the species again, for the person who asks,
> “What are we looking for?”
>
>
>
> HELP
>
> Finally, help the person who is standing where something is blocking their
> view, or who just doesn’t get what you’re talking about. The person who
> says, “Oh, THAT tree. I thought you meant this one.”
>
>
>
> If the bird goes out of sight, say so. Tell people when it comes back
> into view. Tell them it’s a female, so they aren’t looking for a bright
> male.
>
>
>
> Finally, praise the person who found it first. Acknowledge your mistakes.
>
>
>
> Good bird-sharing,
>
>
>
> Paul Sullivan
>

 
Join us on Facebook!