Birders v Dog People in Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy highlights the differences between dog people and birders in their long, low-simmering feud. Actually dog people don’t have anything against birders–except when birders claim that dogs are the scourge of nature.

As Hurricane Sandy hits the east coast, dog people are basically the only ones out on city streets, trying to get their reluctant dogs to pee. The big worry is keeping pets safe and with their people–after so many lost of both lost in Katrina. Birders, meanwhile, are hoping the terrible storm throws some birds hundreds of miles from where they want to be so that they can add another entry to their pedantic life lists.

Dog people are faring  better in this hurricane than just a few years ago.  Now shelters and evacuation systems now have to deal with pets. This time dogs got to ride the NYC subways! But only for about six hours–between the city’s evacuation announcement and when the trains stopped running. They can still ride in cabs, FIDO reminded NYC dog owners.

Mayor Bloomberg just announced that the shelters already have 70 pets. “Don’t leave your pet at home because you don’t know when you’ll be back,” he  said. Aww, he’s gotten soft since hating the idea in 2006, when he said “We have to evacuate human beings and that is where our priorities need to be.” Back then he didn’t quite get that you have to let the people bring their dogs to get them to leave. But now he’s embracing the plan when New Yorkers need it, so good on him.

Birders, meanwhile, are looking forward to rare species from the tropics getting blown hundreds or thousands of miles away from where they want to be. eBird suggests–after an exhausting prologue warning against going to the beach in the hurricane to look for petrels–that petrels, tropicbirds, frigatebirds, terns, laughing gulls and Phalaropes are the birds you might  see, possibly as far away as the midwest.

This is why dog people are considered trustworthy and approachable and birders are dismissed as pedantic.




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