Dangers of Birdwatching
Know the dangers, and avoid birdwatching-related death and injury!
Fact: When you watch a bird, the bird watches you back, and sees into your very soul.
Fact: Birds live in the wild, and people die in the wild all the time.
Fact: Just like a velociraptor, the bird you may be looking at probably has a friend right on the other side of that bush.
Fact: Birdwatching usually requires the use of books, which are quite dangerous on their own without the added dangers of birdwatching.
Fact: Putting binoculars to your eyes too quickly may cause you to poke your eyes out.
Fact: A golden eagle's talon is 3 inches long. Your optic nerve is only 2 inches long. Do the math.
Fact: Whenever you look through binoculars or a telescope, your field of vision is dramatically limited, allowing angry bears to sneak up on you.
Fact: Some birds have bird flu, which is probably going to kill us all.
Fact: Birdwatching on private property can get you shot or arrested for trespassing. Birdwatching during hunting season can also get you shot.
Fact: Birdwatching from a car or other vehicle may distract you from driving.
Fact: People get attacked every year by birds defending their nests, whether the people were trying to birdwatch or not.
Fact: Birdwatching near the ocean, a popular spot for many interesting shore birds, exposes you to the dangers of tsunamis.
Fact: While moving swiftly through the woods off the trail looking up into the trees to identify a rare bird in the early spring, you could find yourself spraining your ankle on a tree's root, limping distractedly through some melting snow into swampland, and getting pulled into the sucking mud. Unable to move due to the mud and your sprained ankle, you could find yourself out of earshot of the trail and the daylight and sun's warmth slowly waning, so desperately you struggle but only find yourself getting further stuck and in greater pain, then find that you've attracted a pack of wolves, very hungry from the meager pickings of the winter. Your bones may never be found.
Learn to prevent the dangers of birdwatching!
Avoid getting caught up in this dangerous hobby by taking these steps:
- Don't listen to any birdwatchers. While sure, it may sound like a fun hobby, getting you out into nature, keeping a long life list to brag about, and learning something in the process, they're probably just trying to get another warm body in the field to better their own odds of survival.
- If you do listen, don't listen well. When they tell you it's pretty inexpensive, and all you need is a simple bird book and your own two eyes, believe the opposite. To be even a novice birdwatcher, you will need 16,000 dollar third generation night vision binoculars with built in stabilization, at least 20 bird books on each region of the world, and only then will you be able to locate a single bird if you're very lucky.
- Avoid the UK and the US. Birding has grown quite a lot in these two parts of the world, and the more you avoid them, the less likely you'll be tempted to join in.
- Never look outside. Looking outside, or being outside, is a gateway to birdwatching, as birds are generally outside. Whenever you look out your window, you risk the sight of a bird. Once you have seen a bird, you must resist the urge to watch it. Keep such sightings at a minimum and when they do occur, do not look at a bird for more than one whole second.
- Don't own any bird feeders or bird houses. These just encourage the birds to stick around, and once that happens, you're more likely to watch them.
- Let your yard be a barren wasteland. Birds only go where the food and shelter is. If your yard offers none, they will not bother you. Do not let a living thing grow within sight of your home.
- Never go on vacation. Going to other parts of the world puts you in a position to notice that the birds in one part of the world are different than the birds in another. You might find this interesting, and begin noticing birds everywhere you go with greater frequency. At that point, you only need to express an interest in what those birds are called and then you are lost.
If you just have to go birdwatching, minimize the dangers with these steps:
- Try not to let the birds sense your presence. As soon as they become aware of you, your risk multiplies.
- Wear one of those face masks to cover your nose and mouth. You do not want to be patient zero of a new avian influenza pandemic.
- Be aware of your environment. Don't just wander off all over the place. Try not to get tunnel vision as you look for new birds. Frequently look around to assess the terrain, legal boundaries, poisonous foliage, and other dangerous wildlife.
- Protect your eyes. Whether it's a bird of prey trying to rip your eyes out of their sockets with their razor-sharp talons or simple carelessness while using binoculars, birdwatching dramatically increases your risk of eye damage. Wear goggles, and then use binoculars that allow adjustments so you can still see through them.
- Always have a phone. While telephones are extremely dangerous, you may want to take the risk of having one with you in case you get lost or injured in the wilderness.
- Be ready to play dead. Most predatory birds are really more interested in just playing with you. If you curl up to protect your major organs and keep your face hidden, they'll grow bored and find another birdwatcher to attack.
- Leave the kids at home. While your children may enjoy going out and looking at the natural beauty around us, some of the larger birds might be able to carry them off to feed your young to their young.
- Bring a witness. It's not like anybody's going to believe you discovered a lost colony of Raphus cucullatus somewhere without a witness anyway. But it's also important you have a witness along to tell your family how you died and where your body is, because ultimately, you will die while birdwatching.