April Foolishness

April Fools Day is a perfectly appropriate time to take advantage of gullible people like myself.

A trend has developed over the past couple years involving the internet birding community. In recent years, on April 1, someone on at least one listserv has made a silly post about a false bird report...generally something far-fetched and of no immediate consequence to birders, such as the discovery of an amazing new hummingbird in Belize...or about penguins found to be flying/migrating.

It's all in good fun.

But the line has to be drawn somewhere. This year, a few fools took it too far. A good, credible birder in Rhode Island reported a Northern Lapwing on Block Island. Predictably, folks all over the northeast began to change plans for the holiday weekend in order to view this magnificent bird. I was included. I immediately called my girlfriend and told her that we were going to Block Island for Good Friday. Luckily I didn't cancel other plans or make any reservations...because it was all a hoax. Just a piss-poor April Fool's joke. But others weren't so lucky. Multiple individuals had already altered their schedules and even BOOKED PLANE TICKETS for this afternoon or tomorrow morning. Then the news broke that the reporter was full of shit.

That's pretty bad, but he wasn't the only one. Birders in Cape May also falsely reported a few mega-rarities. These were more far-fetched, but Cape May has a proven track record of turning up some off-the-radar birds during migration.

Consider this a plea to these people to STOP the bullshit. You're not funny. I'm all for a good off-color joke, but nothing about falsifying a bird report is literally funny. When news broke about the Lapwing being a hoax, how many people do you think laughed? Probably not very many. All you were doing was messing with people. And along the way, you inconvenienced many people. Nice job.

- Nick


  1. My 6 yr old son called me this morning to tell me that he found a Snowy Owl in the backyard on his swing set. That was cute!
    This did nothing but tick me off. Glad to see that it bothered others as well. Leave the April fools to the 6 yr olds where it belongs!


  2. Hah, yes that is cute Mark. Sounds like you're raising your kids right :)


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