Some years back I was looking to add a Black Tern to my life list. So I posted a question to the old Illinois Birders Forum, a listserv of hardcore birders. The forum wasn’t a place for the faint of heart. Common identification questions were met with acerbic responses, or even outright derision. It was no place for beginners, and an intermediate like me had to tread carefully to come off as unsure of myself.