[Ads-l] "Patagonia Picnic Table Effect"

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Sat Jun 9 22:46:55 EDT 2018

Not in the OED.  And probably for good reason.

But nonetheless, this is used among birdwatchers, and has been for a few
years at least.  The passage cited below is from a recent note to a
birdwatchers list, and more or less defines it, but is is also used as a
familiar term not needing explanation.
The back-story is, that there is a roadside pull-over in Patagonia, Texas,
with picnic benches.  Some one once reported seeing there a bird special to
Texas of the sort that demented birders go to Texas to see.  Other birders
saw the report, stopped there, and lo! there it was.  So, it became a part
of birders' wisdom, that if one wanted to see a ----, go to Patagonia and
this picnic area.  Whereas, the bird is also to be seen in similar habitats
all around the area.

I suppose I might note that the Patagonia Picnic Table referred to below,
is the park behind the New York Public Library on 42nd street.


Of all the 'pocket parks' in NYC, Bryant seems to be among the best for
noteworthy birds. Some of this may be observer diligence, the scant
foliage, abundant food scraps and the Patagonia Picnic table effect from
birders following up on reports [of a interesting bird].

George A. Thompson
The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998.

But when aroused at the Trump of Doom / Ye shall start, bold kings, from
your lowly tomb. . .
L. H. Sigourney, "Burial of Mazeen", Poems.  Boston, 1827, p. 112

The Trump of Doom -- also known as The Dunghill Toadstool.  (Here's a
picture of his great-grandfather.)

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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