September 20, 2015 - Following the cancelation of the Lake Erie Pelagic last Sunday, Dan and I took my wife, Danette, along with us on...

10 Things I've Learned Being an S.O.B. - by Dani

September 20, 2015 -

Following the cancelation of the Lake Erie Pelagic last Sunday, Dan and I took my wife, Danette, along with us on a birding/beer adventure in Columbus. A few good birds at Blendon Woods were followed by quite a few good beers at World of Beer in the Brewery District. I asked my wife if she would to do a blog post. I think she saw it as an opportunity to get a few things off her chest!!

10 Things I've Learned Being an S.O.B.
by Danette Collins

I am the non-birder observing the birders. Their behavior is sometimes fascinating. Their behavior sometimes makes me want to stick my head in a bucket of lye. Here are ten things I have learned from trailing along…

1. It is impossible to raise binoculars to ones eyes without ones mouth dropping open. Random thoughts of Flycatchers come to mind… Though I will concede that I cannot put on mascara without looking exactly the same way.

2. When it comes to finding that elusive bird, there is no such thing as “too early”. During the workweek, I am the victim of the snooze button. It can range anywhere from 3 to 10 times on any given day - except when birding is involved. In that case, the birder will jump out of bed at the little click that sounds right before the alarm actually goes off.  It will still be dark outside.

More important than Christmas Shopping
3. A birder will be able to tell you which birds they saw, where they were seen, what time of day it was, and what they had for breakfast that day for the last 3 years. Yet they will forget that the trash goes out to the curb every single Tuesday night until the end of time and, on occasion, they will forget to go to the stores before they close on Christmas Eve to get you a Christmas present because they were out birding and the time got away from them. True story. (Editors note: Scott P. scheduled the Grouse trip - not my fault!)

Distracted birder? Perhaps
4. The minute the birding destination is reached, all of the car windows magically roll themselves down. It can be 10 degrees and snowing or raining sideways. Random birdcalls will ensue. It will take 20 minutes to cover one mile. The car starts traveling in a weaving pattern. I have learned to just squeeze my eyes shut and hope to not go off the side of the ravine. 

5. Birders are “one-uppers”. They can’t seem to help it.  For example – “I saw a Tufted Titmouse yesterday.” That will be immediately followed up with “I will see your Tufted Titmouse, and raise you two Red-billed Oxpeckers.” And while we are on the subject of Titmouses, Oxpeckers, and other slightly naughty sounding birds such as Red-Footed Boobies; the mention of these never fails to invoke the chuckles and smirks of a 13 year old boy and possibly some “your mom” jokes.

Alex is secretly pleased that Jeremy does not have this bird
6. When you are married to a birder, add at least an hour, if not two, to the estimated time of arrival back home. If you are planning dinner, make sure to fix something that will “hold”. Be prepared to listen to some off-the-wall explanation of why your birder is late. Try not to be too mad but give them the crusty part of the food on the side of the pan as a slight punishment. If the deal is “I’ll cook, you can do the dishes.” make sure you dirty every last pot and pan in the kitchen. Speaking of the kitchen, my kitchen floor has not been clean for ages. It will always have little chunks of mud that has been deposited from hiking boots. Birder will deny tracking it in every time and swear that his boots are clean.

7. Whenever we go somewhere together, we will be taking my car. There is no room in the passenger seat of his as it is holding his bins, his camera, field guides, Pop Tart wrappers, and empty Mountain Dew bottles. I’m not very big but that is just too much to fight.

These are riding shotgun
8. You can never get too far ahead or too far behind a birder to get separated. They just don’t move that fast. I can wander off and do my thing for a half hour and figure out that I was never missed. I believe I have some mixed emotions on this one…

9. Always take an alternate form of entertainment because for the most part, you will be ignored. I always have my camera for the hiking and my trusty Kindle for the car. Make sure to reply with “Uh huh, that’s awesome.” every once in a while even though you pretty much have no idea what was said. But I’m not doing anything they don’t do themselves; I have noticed that serious birders are a bit dismissive to the amateurs. The automatic response to a lot of things that they say is “Cool!” Believe me, they don’t think it is cool at all. They think you should keep the word bird out of your mouth.
Not a rare bird - just "cool"
10. I’m often bribed to go along on a birding trip with the promise of food and drink and great photo ops. Make sure you take provisions in your backpack because it will be a long weary road before you actually see any of these rewards. The other day, some of the tree bark in the woods was actually starting to look good to me. Sometimes you will be invited just to alleviate the guilt the birder feels about being gone so often. They really don’t mind if you say no. At least you were asked. There was a nice payoff after visiting Blendon Woods  on Sunday: Katzinger’s Delicatessan then World of Beers. 
Dani representing well at W.O.B.
I could go on but this is a blog post, not a novel. I do want to say this is all in good fun and whatever makes my birder husband happy, makes me happy. I know he could have a lot of worse habits than his birding one. It keeps him off the streets and out of the bars as my mom used to say. We have met some truly wonderful people along the way and I will end on this note…Bird on, baby. Bird on.

Some photos from the day -

You may also like


  1. Excellent post! I know some fob's who can relate. I'm 2 minutes away from blendon - would have loved to met you there.

  2. They say all humor is based on reality . . . if that is true . . . this is REALLLLLLLLLLY funny!

  3. At least you're asked along every now and then. I'm pretty sure I'm just mostly considered as reliable childcare. I frequently refer to myself to friends as a birder-widow.

  4. Excellent blog. Fortunately both my wife and I bird.

  5. What a good sport. I can't imagine not being married to a birder.

  6. Thank you all for the really nice responses!

  7. Loved reading this. You've got something going here! Your sense of humor is what I was hoping for when that birding movie came out a few years back (The Big Year). It was so disappointing in comparison to this post! Thank you :)

  8. Dani, can you explain the last paragraph to MY wife??

    Great read, maybe you should be doing some blog of your own?!

  9. Thank you, that's very nice of you to say!

  10. Wonderful. Perfect. Period. Thank you!
    (blog of your own is an excellent idea, terrific comic talent)

  11. I'm so glad I live with a birder...she still gets bored when I stop moving to get just the right out of focus shot of a bird butt...

  12. Fortunately both my wife and I are S.O.B. I can attest to most of the stuff you mentioned ... Totally enjoyed your blog, I see the hilarious side of things! 😊

  13. Fantastic! I'll show that to my birder :-)

  14. Thanks for the blog and perhaps a support group for birder' partners would be the next step

  15. Fantastic!! My spouse totally agrees! It's an addiction for sure :)


Powered by Blogger.