RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By

Skin Design:
Free Blogger Skins

Powered by Blogger

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Hat Tip to David Sibley

If you ever wondered why great birders should take up blogging, check out David Sibley's latest post on perception and mistakes in birding. The kind of situations David reports happens all the time in birding. Anyone who claims otherwise is either a) inexperienced or b) not very self aware; either condition in birding leads to errors. Part of the fun of birding is celebrating the uncertainty and vagaries of our own perceptions. Sometimes a flicker is a bird, sometimes its the play of shadows, and sometimes its just a flash of random neurons. Wisdom comes in recognizing the possibilities and potentials for all of these possibilities to present themselves in our birding explorations.


Carolyn H said...


Have you ever noticed this?: Sometimes when I'm birding with friends and we see a distant bird that we can't yet ID, it will look like one species, then it gets a little closer and looks like something else. Eventually, it gets close enough and we know what it is. Here's the weird part. Before it's close enough to make the correct ID, we often all perceive it to be the same wrong species. It's not that one person is thinking it's a turkey vulture and another is thinking it's a bald eagle. It's that we all think it's a bald eagle, then maybe a golden eagle and then (voila!) it's a red-tail.

Carolyn H.

birdchaser said...

Yeah, sometimes that happens because we are all cued into the same set of field marks that we can't really see well. And sometimes its a matter of group think--once one person makes a suggested ID, everyone else goes along with it looking for evidence to support that ID. Once you get multiple observers involved, it can be good as it helps you determine what you are really seeing--or it can be bad if group think kicks in and people go along with group consensus of mistaken perceptions or interpretations. Fun, huh?

Nature Blog Network Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites