Would you rather see a bird you'd never seen before, or watch a bird you see all the time do something new and unusual? I have to admit that usually I'd rather see a new bird. Perhaps that makes me more of a birder than a birdwatcher. But since new birds are few and far between for me these days, I have a growing appreciation for watching unusual bird behavior as well.
Today during lunch, I saw a Downy Woodpecker. Now I just checked and I've reported 115 Downy Woodpecker sightings to eBird over the past two years. That's just the ones I've reported from birding trips, not the ones that I see or hear everywhere but don't bother to enter. So a bird I probably see or hear a couple times a week--and almost every time I'm actually out birding.
Today I saw one do something I hadn't seen before. A female woodpecker perched on a horizontal branch stretched its neck upwards as if looking up. Then it flew/hopped/jumped directly up and landed upside-down on the bottom side of an overhead branch. I've seen woodpeckers moving along the bottom side of a branch, but had never seen one fly up and land on one like that. It was pretty cool. Wish I had it on film. Probably speaks more about how little I have paid attention to these birds in the past than to how rare this behavior might be.
So how about you? Are you more of a birder or a birdwatcher? How do you compare seeing a new bird to seeing an old bird do a new trick?
A Shorebird Search in Costa Rica, Late April
8 hours ago