Ethics and calling up cryptic birds

Subject: Ethics and calling up cryptic birds
From: "Martin O'Brien" <>
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 1997 08:19:42 -0812 (utc)
Hello all birding-aus readers.  I thought I would offer the following from a 
'non-twitchers' point of 

As part of a variety of survey techniques when censusing wetland birds in 
northern Victoria 
(Australia) I have used species-specific tapes at wetlands where Bitterns could 
be present.  
For the handful of times we used tapes in the 100s of wetlands visited, only a 
few responses 
were ever heard by myself and these were often not the same call we just played!

Apart from the confusing results using this technique it was a valuable method 
in recording 
Bittern spp. at sites where we had no other evidence they were present.

While spotlighting was never used to census crepuscular and cryptic wetland 
birds, this audio 
technique seemed relatively benign in comparison, in that responding birds did 
not show 
themselves or sound alarmed.

Any 'Code of Ethics' related to bird censusing needs to take account of 
legitimate scientific 
surveys and monitoring of our avifauna, especially where it is part of an 
information gathering 
project on habitat or species conservation.

This discussion should address any survey techniques in the light of their 
impact on habitats 
and species and there appropriateness in gathering otherwise difficult 
Martin O'Brien
Wildlife Policy Officer
Flora and Fauna Branch
Department of Natural Resources and Environment
GPO Box 41
East Melbourne,  3002
Tel: +61 3  9412 4273
Fax: +61 3 9412 4586

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