Thursday, December 29, 2011

For those about to bird, we salute you!

Posted by Rob Fergus

Making up bird-related lyrics to popular songs is a venerable birding tradition (see for example Uptight and Birdy as well as the AC/DC song that is the title of this post).  I've never seen a name for this birding activity, so we might as well call it birdaoke.  For those of you who bird alone, or who haven't fully experienced this birding tradition, here are a few pointers:

1) Start simple--At its easiest, you can always use "bird" as a replacement for a one syllable word in a song lyric.  This often works best when replacing a word in the middle of a line rather than one that ends a line and needs a rhyming word to finish the next line.  There are only so many words that rhyme with bird, and they aren't all that useful.

2) Start small--You don't have to make up lyrics to a whole song--many birders don't get beyond coining a few choice birding hooks, such as the title to this post, or something like Twisted Sister's I wanna bird!

3) Start at home--While masters of birdaoke can make up new lyrics and rhymes on the fly while driving around in their birding mobiles, if you are new to the practice, you may want to start by preparing a few choice lines at home before your next birding trip.  Then when the birding is slow, or you are exulting in some birding moment with your birding buddies, you can let loose with your prepared birdaoke without having to make it up on the spot.

4) Practice--Once you are a bit more experienced, you can go as big as you want.  True masters can take any song playing on the radio (does anyone listen to radio while birding anymore?) or on their friend's iPod and turn it into birdaoke on the fly.  There is nothing like being in the presence of a true birdaoke virtuoso.  As with all birding skills, practice makes perfect.  So practice at home or on your own and soon you'll be able to birdaoke with the best of them and really impress your friends!

5) Go Big--When you find yourself turning all your favorite songs into birdaoke, you know you've started to arrive.  You can be the hit of any birding excursion, and may even be invited to host birdaoke at your local birding festival.  You could be birdaoke celebrity and record your own LP!

For a bit of inspiration, here's a classic 1970s birdaoke to get the juices going--Mega Rarity Rhapsody!

Is this a rare bird?
Is this just fantasy?
A glimpse of its back side,
Hard to tell in reality
Open your eyes, 
Look up to the skies and see,
I'm just a birder, I need no sympathy,
Because I'm easy come, easy go, 
Little high, little low,
Any way the bird goes doesn't really matter to me,
to me

Hey guys, 
I just flushed a bird,
Saw it fly out of a tree, 
then it flew away from me
Hey guys... l had just arrived,
But now the bird has gone and flown away
Hey guys oooh, 
Better post it on the net,
Hope it comes back again this time tomorrow,
Birders come, birders come, 'cause only Megas really matter

Next day, the time has come,
Sends shivers down my spine, 
body's aching all the time
Goodbye, ev'rybody, I've got to go,
Got to leave you all behind and find that bird
Hey guys oooh, 
I can't find the bird,
I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all!

(Guitar solo)

I see a little silhouetto of a bird,
Could it be?  Could it be?  It's a crazy freaking Mega!>

Flown in from Siberia, very, very exciting me!
It's a Mega!  It's a Mega!
It's a Mega!  It's a Mega!
It's a Mega! Eye-browed Thrush!  Magnifico!

I'm just a birder, rarities love me
He's just a birder from a birding family,
Just the kind of guy to find a mega rarity!
Easy come, easy go, now the bird has flown
Where's the photo? We'll believe it when we're shown
(Where'd it go?)  Where's the photo? We'll believe it when we're shown 
(Where'd it go?)  Where's the photo? We'll believe it when we're shown 
(Bird is gone!) Your birding cred is blown
(Bird is gone!)(Ouch!) Your birding cred is blown
(Bird is gone!) And now we'll never know (Where'd it go?) Ah
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Oh mama mia, mama mia, mama mia, where'd it go?
Beelzebub has a Mega put aside for me, for me, 

So, birdaoke maniacs, what's your own favorite bit of birdaoke?


  1. Justin Rink is a Master! Empidonax City!

    I am very impressed...might have to sing this one!


  2. Ha! A true and awesome nerd fest! Or should I say, bird nest?
    Rock (Pigeon) on Mr. Mortensen

  3. Nice post Rob. I'm a big fan of "Birdoake" myself.

    Here is The Drifters "Under the Boardwalk" transformed into "Out on the Bird walk"

    My review of the Crossley ID Guide also had a bit of "Birdoake" using Frank Sinatra's "My Way" as if Crossley was singing about his guide.

  4. Nice, I will never hear that song the same again.

  5. Don't know that song and have never heard of this before but it sounds like fun! I will have to think about this and get back to you! Now you've got my creative juices flowing!

  6. I love it, Rob! I'll never sing that song the old way again!

    Rock on!