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Are you a budding birder who's always left scratching your head when talking to more experienced twitchers? If so, you’re not alone.

Birding is an incredible hobby, but let’s face it. It has its own language and vocab - terms that seem to fly over novice birders' heads. No need to worry, though, because we've got you covered with our comprehensive guide on the most common terminology and slang used in the birding world! We'll be exploring ten words every birder should know, all guaranteed to get you confidently conversing with fellow avian admirers in no time.

So, read on for some entertaining insight into some of the quirkiest phrases within birdwatching, then read on!

1. Lifer

A lifer is a bird that a birder has never seen before. For example, if you spot a new bird species while out on a hike, you can say that you got a lifer.

2. Tick

A tick is a new bird that a birder adds to their list. This could be your daily list, yearly list, or even a lifetime list. If you are seeing a bird for the first time, you can celebrate with a tick.

3. Dip

A dip refers to when a birder misses out on seeing a bird that was high on their priority list. This might happen if you spot a rare bird in the distance, but it flies away before you can get a good look at it.

4. Skulker

A skulker is a cryptic bird species that is difficult to see because it blends in with its surroundings. For example, if you are trying to spot a bird in the trees and it is difficult to find because it is the same color as the leaves, you might be dealing with a skulker.

5. Twitcher

Twitchers are experienced birders who are dedicated to their hobby. This person is willing to go to great lengths to witness a new species or check one of the top birding locations off their list.

6. Big Year

A big year occurs when a birder tries to see as many different species of birds as possible within one calendar year. If you set a goal of seeing 200 unique species of birds in 2023, you can say that you are doing a big year.

7. BINS or Binos

BINS or binos are a shortened term for binoculars. When you’re birding, you don’t want to forget your binos!

8. Pishing

Pishing is an imitation of an insect sound to draw out songbirds where you can get a better view of them for photos or to study their behavior. This is often done by clicking your tongue or using an electronic device like a smartphone app. As the name suggests, it sounds something like “pfishhh, pfishhh.”

9. Vagrant

Vagrant refers to when a bird appears outside of its normal ecological area. For instance, if you were to see a penguin sunning itself on a Floridian beach, the only way you could explain it would be as a vagrant or an escape from the local zoo.

10. Siesta Time

This refers to the time of day when the birds are least active. Siesta time often occurs during the mid-afternoon hours, when most birds settle for their daily nap.

Let The Birding Slang Fly!

So, there you have it, ten essential birding slang words every birder should know! Now get out there and start using them on your next birding adventure. Which birding slang word is your favorite?

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