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Nov 14 2012

Unidentified Flying Dinosaur: Geologist Bird

This is another UFD from Eskered, and I think it is my favorite. I teased it a while back, saying “There’s one, especially, that geologists are going to identify with. It’s definitely our kind o’ bird.” RQ hazarded a guess as to what that might be. It was an excellent guess, but rocks are only one aspect to being a geologist.

The other is, of course, beer.

I’ve worried in the past that my distaste for beer means I can’t ever be a Real Geologist™, but Brian Romans and others assured me other forms of edible alcohol can be substituted, so we’re all right. However, this UFD has no problem at all with the most important aspect of being a geologist after the geoscience and the rock hammer. Therefore, I declare it an honorary geologist.

UFD

UFD I. Fiordland National Park, South Island, New Zealand. Beer can for size. Image courtesy Eskered.

How do we know this bird is a geologist? We can tell it is even without any telltale outcrops in the area. It is hanging around the beer. It is perfectly alert despite hanging around the beer. It looks as if it’s chock full of intelligence, yet it’s a down-to-earth and approachable intelligence. It’s dressed casually in colors that will hold up in the field. It is standing between you and the sandals, as if to say, “Those would be a bad idea to wear while bashing rocks. I’d consider other shoes. Oh, we’re staying in camp for the rest of the day? Right. Crack me open another beer, then, and I’ll let you have your sandals back.”

UFD II

UFD II. Cropped to better show the most important bits: the bird and the beer. Image courtesy Eskered.

You’ve never yet failed at an identification, my darlings, but if this bird eludes your best efforts, I suggest we figure out the proper scientific Latin for “small brown geologist bird” and claim it as that.

Hell, if you identify this bird, we’ll rename it anyway.

13 comments

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  1. 1
    rq

    So I forgot about the beer. I’m not a geologist, only related to one, and I expect I can be forgiven my occasional lapses.
    (I still think we should start a society – see my comment previous ID post.)

    That being said.
    Here’s my guess:
    New Zealand Robin , aka the toutouwai in Maori.
    Google Images shows a bunch of round little bundles of grey fur with white bellies, and this one looks distinctly underfed in comparison.
    I think it needs more beer.

    1. 1.1
      Eskered

      Correct, RQ. Likely one of the most common birds in New Zealand, saw them every where I went, though their breast feather color varies on different parts of the islands. Very inquisitive, these birds love to explore, had a tough time getting this bird to leave my car. Social too, moment I fired up my camp stove, this bird sent out a few tweets and I had four of them sitting on the picnic table watching me eat dinner. “small brown exploration geologist bird”

      1. rq

        A few tweets being short for ‘HEY GUYS dinner’s on!!’ :D

  2. 2
    maxdwolf

    Dunno why, but it strikes me as relatively young.

  3. 3
    rq

    It’s the long stick legs and perky look to the small beady black eye. :)
    Robins always look young to me due to their somehow delicately youthful proportions.

  4. 4
    heliconia

    I concur on New Zealand robin – the South Island subspecies.

  5. 5
    cope

    Gonna go with rock wren based solely on the geology connection. Image search results seem to show its beak as being too short, though.

  6. 6
    Jean Gogolin

    Why do you suppose birdies always have knock knees? Do you think dinosaurs did?

  7. 7
    Gvlgeologist, FCD

    And just to be perfectly clear, good beer (i.e. without “lite”, “ice”, “Bud” or “Coors” in the name), hard cider, whiskey, or ale are all acceptable in the field. Once, in the absence of all else, I was reduced to peppermint schnaps. Home brew is the ultimate.

    But wine in the field? Never.

    Is there a bird in that photo? Didn’t notice. I was looking at the can, trying to figure out the brand.

  8. 8
    Gvlgeologist, FCD

    Oh, and tequila, of course, is acceptable as well.

  9. 9
    cherrybombsim

    Birds (and wildlife in general) prefer Ranier beer when they can get it. 30 or 40 years ago, I was on a glacier up near your Mt St. Helens, trying to figure out how to drill through it. Being geologists, we had brought a variety of beers to stash in a hole that served as our refrigerator. One day, we came back to find our refrigerator raided by the ravens. They had methodically pulled out each beer can and selected only the Raniers to puncture through the side and drink. I have heard the same sort of story about other animals like bears. It must be the big red “R” on the can.

  10. 10
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    I get archaeologist birds. The second-storey deck rests on an I-beam, and they can get in there and be all safe (and roasting hot or freezing cold, but whatever works). They are constantly throwing out old bits of concrete from the old deck (replaced) and chunks of iron rust what spalls off the beam.

    But this dude insists that the birds bring these things to make nests (I know, right?) despite various lines of evidence to the contrary. Rock-nesting birds do not operate this way/i>.

    1. 10.1
      F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

      obviously did not close tag

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