Stick birds. Rock birds. Plastic bag birds. Leaf birds. Stump birds. Branch birds. Snow birds. Lump birds. Pipe birds. Plastic birds.

Every birder has been fooled at least once by inanimate objects masquerading as birds. This has a lot to do with the way the birding mind recognizes patterns: see the correct shape and color in the right context and you automatically think that distant plastic bag shifting in the breeze is a distant Snowy Owl. I once thought a rusted pipe was a Green-winged Teal.

So as I drove around Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park the object in the images above and below caught my eye. Through the heat haze where my car’s warmth escaped the passenger side window and the reeds that lined the shore I could swear that the shape, size, and texture of the object correlated with bird. Not only that, I was convinced, for some reason, that I had found a rail.

It’s vaguely rail-like, no?

Closer examination, through my spotting scope, without the heat haze issue, revealed the true identity of the not-bird. It was a coconut. Yes, a coconut, abandoned on the ice of Meadow Lake. I don’t understand either.

Oh well. At least I took some pretty pictures of pigeons.

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.