RE: Ethics of bird-watching

To: "" <>
Subject: RE: Ethics of bird-watching
From: "Osborn, Paul PR" <>
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 1997 10:48:07 +1000
The biggest problem I see with debating this issue is the lack of
information on the effects spotlights, pishing etc. have on the birds.
Has anyone done a rigorous study of this issue? It's easy to postulate
that shining a spotlight into a bird's eyes will temporarily blind it,
but for how long? Unless we can measure the effects of these activities
we cannot hope to achieve anything by this debate and might as well talk
about the weather. If anyone out there has some hard evidence on impacts
let's hear about it, then we can form some opinion. Otherwise, some will
say 'Don't do it' others will say 'Why not?' and we will keep going
around in circles.

Paul Osborn

>From:  Stephen Ambrose[SMTP:
>Sent:  Wednesday, 5 March 1997 5:21
>Subject:       Ethics of bird-watching
>I have been following this discussion of the ethics of spotlighting with
>great interest. 
>The RAOU's Conservation Committee is currently examining the ethics of using
>tapes, spotlights and other aids to attract/observe birds, particularly rare
>sensitive species. The Committee will ultimately produce an RAOU position
>paper once 
>everyone's points of view have been canvassed.
>Interestingly, peoples' views on this topic were sought in the September 1996
>issue of 
>Wingspan to help the RAOU prepare its position paper but there was no
>response. It appears that chat lines such as this one are more effective in
>view-points of members (and others)!
>Let's not have interstate, inter-club or professional rivalries in discussing
>important issues as this one. We have all used some device for attracting
>birds at some 
>stage of our bird-watching. Now is the time to have a rational (rather than
>an emotive) 
>discussion on how we can minimise the disturbance to birds (and their
>habitats) when 
>enjoying our hobby and/or profession.
>Dr Stephen Ambrose
>RAOU Research and Conservation Manager
>Tel.   (03) 9882 2622
>Fax    (03) 9882 2677
>Email: S.Ambrose <>

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