WHEN YOU TRAVEL to different countries or different places in this country, it’s easy to pick up local slang.
After two weeks of birding in England, I began using some of the Brits’ bird-watcher expressions.
A column featuring this trip earned me a call from my editor.
“I don’t recognize the word ‘jizz.’ ”
I thought I had successfully defined it for him, but Bob was adamant.
“You’ll have to change it.”
Bob Mottram was one of my all-time favorite editors. That’s saying something because I’ve had some great ones over the years. I was disappointed I couldn’t get him to change his mind.
That was a few decades ago. Now, jizz is widely recognized among this country’s birders.
To understand its meaning, think of a familiar bird you easily. You recognize it by its jizz.
That’s what you are doing when you say something like, “It looks like — or it acts like a robin.”
When I saw my first “blackbird” in Australia, my instinctive reaction was, “That’s a black robin!” [ . . . }