Color me surprised. In my seminal post on Void not that long ago, I made a humorous analogy likening the classification of the members of my high school punk posse to the diligent ministrations of a birdwatcher.
"I recall seasoned older punk rockers - you know, maybe 20 years old - in the scene sizing up my group of friends as we headed towards a show entrance and sort of giving us a collective nod of approval as we passed muster. I could hear someone calling out the various stripes of my group like birders barking out the sightings - "one liberty mohawk, one spikey, one skin, this one's got a COC silk-screen safety-pinned to his leather jacket, ...".
It's a funny image right? A badass punker peeping assiduously through binoculars like a bookish birder.
Well the ink on that post had barely dried before I came upon this article.
There you have it!
Though his moshing days are behind him, Croasdale says he still feels connected to punk culture. If anything, he’s found more space for expression by building birding into his practice. The hybrid approach has strengthened his resolve to tend to nature and fight oppression with personal action—a sentiment shared by his many “birdpunk” friends around the country.
Holy shit, apparently there are literally flocks of these birdpunkers! Nay, a veritable murder of birdpunkers! Who knew?
Now I readily get the natural intersection of certain activities and punk rock - skateboarding, surfing, slam dancing, squatting, straight-edging, drinking and so on and so forth.
And a few bands and sub-tribes within the punk scene extended that embrace to more fringe activities - wrestling (Stretch Marks), hockey (Slapshot, SNFU), cinematography (Fugazi, just kidding, finished reading 33 1/3 series on In On the Killtaker and they seem a little touchy about that) - those didn't catch on as much within the broader punk community.
The overlap between birding and punk might seem strange to outsiders, but for birdpunks like Croasdale, the Do-It-Youself (DIY) values that shape punk living feed perfectly into low-frills activities such as birding. The DIY aesthetic and mentality is a core philosophy for punks, who thrive on independence and individualism.
Now that you put it that way, who the hell am I to judge?
In the spirit of the birding theme and blurring the lines of what's punk and what's not, I feel compelled to close with this from The Wrens:
Hearing (most of) the gems on this record is like spotting the rare western snowy plover on a wintry morn. Forgive me this guilty pleasure as I toss in another one for you, this time accompanied by a melancholy video rather than a melancholy farmhouse (or whatever) photo. You're welcome.