There is no way to identify a birdwatcher based on their economic status, ethnic background, social status, age, gender or even their clothes. This is because the community of birdwatchers includes people from every conceivable group in human society. However, there are some telltale signs which will identify a person as a birdwatcher. In fact, you yourself may be a true birder if any of the following apply:
Your neck always hurts except when you’re looking up.
You have permanent rings around your eyes from pressing the binoculars too tightly against your face.
You keep a variety of bird checklists, including a yard list, a town list, a state list, a USA list, a Canada list (from last year’s vacation), a world list, a year list and a “heard in movies” list.
You understand why you need to see some warblers today even though you saw 23 different warbler species yesterday.
Your e-mail address contains the name of a bird.
You know the scientific name for those pigeons found in shopping center parking lots.
You can say exactly where you saw dozens of life birds but don’t recall exactly where you first met your spouse.
You know the name of the last Passenger Pigeon and the year it died. (Corollary: you might be a very old birder if you actually saw the last Passenger Pigeon the year it died).
You would drive for six hours, overnight, to see a gull.
Your children’s middle names were chosen based on your favorite birds.
Someone yells “Duck!”, and you look up and shout, “Where?”
Your family vacations are planned so as to maximize the number of life birds you will be able to see.
You bought your three-year old binoculars for their birthday.
You pish at the shrubbery at the local mall even though people stop and stare.
Your spouse says, “It’s either me or the birds,” and you have to think about it.
A machine squeaks at work and you describe it to the maintenance personnel as sounding like a Black-and-White Warbler.
You spend fifteen minutes preparing dinner for your family, and thirty minutes mixing and placing seed for your birds.
You have been seen looking out of restaurant windows with your binoculars.
You call the Hot Line but aren’t looking for a psychic.
Your idea of a day off is a visit to the local sewage ponds at 5:00 am.
You can correctly identify all of the bones from your chicken dinner.
You get up at 4 a.m., drive for five straight hours, hike through the woods in freezing weather with wet feet and frozen ears, see only a single rare bird, and then describe your weekend as “Awesome!”.
You can fit at least one of your friends into each of these categories.