|Glossary of Birder Slang
The following is a working glossary of slang terms often used by birders. It is biased (at this point) toward terms used by folks from Oregon and Washington, but does contain some of the more well known international terms. Birder slang is usually used among regular birding companions in the field and should NEVER be used to communicate information to Listserves or Hotlines.
A B CDEFG H I JKLMNOP Q RSTUVWXYZ
Amwigs - American Wigeon
Asian flu (or flew) - the very contagious tendency to see rare Asian vagrants
where there are none (usually because one has been recently reported)
Beernt - Common Nighthawk
Bushwhack (verb) - intensively search the brush for sparrows and other passerines.
Butter butts - Yellow-rumped warblers (always plural, naturally)
Cans - Canvasback
Can't get there from here - any set of photos or written description that does not
contain enough detail to confirm a rare or unusual bird
Chase (verb) - to go on a (usually long) trip to find a reported rarity or rarities
Cormaroids - cormorant sp.
Culls - common gulls
Dark lark - European Starling
Dip (or dip out) - missing a rarity after having made the effort to chase it
Elitist - any experienced birder who doesn't believe what you saw
Empid - flycatchers of the genus Empidonax
Eurwigs - Eurasian Wigeon
Fake - domesticated or of dubious origin, as in "those are fake ducks on the pond".
Fink - finch
Gashawk - single engine aircraft
GBH - Great Blue Heron
G-fink (geefink) - American Goldfinch
Growl - Great Horned Owl
Jinx bird - a (relatively speaking) regularly occurring bird that has
managed to elude one's life list in spite of repeated attempts to find
over many years (most usually Northern Saw-whet Owl).
Jizz - the gestalt of a species, the sum of shape, color, and behaviors
that are unique to a given species.
Jungle fowl - chickens
Junk - Juncos
Kack - brushy habitat good for finding winter sparrows
Lawn Carp - "urbanized" Western Canada Geese
LBJ (also LBB) - any small brown, difficult to identify bird (from "little brown job")
Leasties (also Leastie beasties) - Least Sandpipers
Lister - one who obsesses about building his/her lifelist (usually used as a dismissive pejorative)
Mamoo - Marbled Murrelet (from the USBBL 4-code MAMU)
Mega-find (also mega-rarity) - a very rare bird
Moo-tweet - cowbird
Mostly - any bird in a hybrid swarm that shows very few (or no) intermediate characters; as in "that's a mostly Western Gull".
Mudpecker - shorebird (most usually dowitchers)
Nottabird - something that looks like a bird from a distance, but isn't on closer inspection.
Old-tailed Duck - Long-tailed Duck (Oldsquaw)
Oystertasters - oystercatchers
Patch - local (familiar) birding area.
Peck - Pectoral Sandpiper
Peeps - small Calidris sandpipers
Pibble - Pied-billed Grebe
Pig - Rock Dove (occasionally other pigeons, as in Band-tailed Pigs)
Pine swine - Pine Siskins
Pish (verb) - sibilant noise made to attract birds
Pish out - have birds respond to pishing
Poach (verb) - to look for birds in someone else's territory during a Christmas Bird Count
Protobirder - a new birder (usually one who thinks he/she knows more then he/she actually does)
Pseudobird - something that looks like a bird until it is examined through binoculars or scope.
Rockpecker - any rockyshore-type shorebird (turnstone, Surfbird, Rock Sandpiper)
Rumps - Yellow-rumped Warblers
Sanderthing - Sanderling
Scope (verb) - look through a flock using a spotting scope
Semis - Semipalmated Plovers (usually)
Shank (verb) - the act of "shooting the messenger" when receiving bad news about the acceptance of a recent sighting.
Sharpie - Sharp-shinned Hawk
Sky rats - most usually applied to Rock Doves (feral pigeons), but also regularly applied for European Starlings.
Snad - sandpiper
Snog - Song Sparrow
Stint Fever - seeing rare shorebirds where there are none (usually because one has been recently reported)
Stringy - an iffy ID call
Tail - Red-tailed Hawk
Tick - a new species on the life list (can also be used as a verb; to tick)
Trash bird - very common bird (often used for locally common birds that are less common elsewhere).
Tubenose - Albatrosses, shearwaters, storm-petrels
TeeVee (TV) - Turkey Vulture
Twitch (verb) - to go chasing a rarity
Twitcher - one who regularly goes chasing after rarities
Ugly Gull - any gull (independent of whether it's pretty or not) that presents an ID challenge.
Usual suspects - the expected species for a given area
VeeGee (VG) - Violet-green Swallow
Wa-haa - Cedar Waxwing
X-bill - crossbill
Yabow - a non-birder who scares all the birds off (or lets his/her dog do it)
Zonos - sparrows of the genus Zonotrichia; crowned sparrows