FW: even more on spotlighting

To: ozbird <>
Subject: FW: even more on spotlighting
From: "CONOLE, Lawrie" <>
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 1997 17:15:00 +1000
On Mon, 3 Mar 1997, Eric J Woehler wrote:

> I think spot lighting should be discouraged, as we dont know what effect it
> has on the birds, but I would rather be conservative and assume a
> risk/damage to the birds than not.

It may be worthwhile adding spotlighting to the list of activities which
includes pishing, tape playback & nest-finding, as being potentially
disturbing to birds, and possibly harmful in some circumstances.  If
that's the case, then maybe somebody (RAOU, BOCA) should come up with
"ethical guidelines" about when these techniques are OK to use, & how to
go about them wisely/safely.  A blanket discouragement of spotlighting
will have little or no impact.

Spotlighting for its own sake, or for twitching birds, is a fairly
pointless activity compared to spotlighting as part of a life history
study, or inventory survey, etc.  The same could be said for any
recreational birding which employs pishing, tape playback, etc.
use of any of these techniques is unlikely to be of major importance at
seldom visited sites, but should be discouraged in areas of high birder

> Remember, the welfare of the birds is (and must remain to be) our
> over-riding concern, adding a tick to a list must come a very poor second
> to the continued well-being of any bird.

True.  However, there are birds around which have been subjected to
spotlighting/tape playback at wide intervals over a long period, and
they're still going strong.  Detecting rare or little known birds such
forest owls as part of a survey might involve some disturbance from
&/or tape playback.  The positive benefits for the species or for
populations are likely to outweigh the negatives.

This is a _birding_ list though isn't it.  The amount of discussion that
occurs here about life history studies, or long term status monitoring,
etc. is just about zip.  So Eric, your point is probably more pertinent
than mine.


Lawrie Conole
Geelong, Victoria, Australia

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