RE: re Crakes and rails and the use of Tapes

To: "'ozbird'" <>
Subject: RE: re Crakes and rails and the use of Tapes
From: "Conole, Lawrie" <>
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 1997 12:01:17 +1000
> Some species (eg. Lewin Rail, Marbled Frogmouth) may go undetected and
> therefore suffer unnecessarily due to habitat loss etc. Sometimes the
> additional information is a positive thing. 
This perennial question .....

There's quite a difference between endless twitching for its own sake of
particular birds/species with the aid of tapes, and conducting surveys
for faunal inventory or conservation biology or whatever.  The latter is
unlikely to be indiscriminate and relentless, the former is!  Common
sense is all well and good, but how does the 'metapopulation' of birders
regulate its common sense?  As one carload of birders leaves the car
park, another enters.  Who decides whether it's appropriate to taunt the
local birds with recorded calls so soon after the last session ended?
Who knows when the last such event took place, or how often it happens?
A blanket 'rule of thumb' suggesting that calling birds in with tapes
should be avoided in popular birding spots would avoid that dilemma.
> Generally I have found that Australian birders are decent people who
> know when 
> not to do something and care about the birds and the environment.
I'm sure they are when they have the necessary information.  

> Without wishing to appear cheeky I recall several incidents a few
> years when Golden 
> Bowerbirds were getting very distressed at their reflection in the
> mirror of a 
> car.  Is this so very different?  And just think how many cars there
> are on 
> the road.   
It's a bit like saying, "Shall I run over this Magpie?  If I don't
somebody else probably will!".  (At the risk also of being a bit
cheeky.)  Traumatising birds by playing recorded calls is hardly
accidental or collateral damage, it's the result of a deliberate action.

Perhaps I'm old fashioned or masochistic, but I've plodded my way up to
almost 620 Australian bird species on my life list over nearly 20 years
without the use of recorded calls to bring them in.  I'm inclined to
agree with Jon Wren that I regard it a greater test of my skills as a
birder to find them and see them with just the cues that the bird
offers; frustrating though that might occasionally be.  Some species
took me quite a while to find by these means, but gave me great
satisfaction when I eventually succeeded.  Seeing a bird come charging
in to a recorded call, like a yo-yo on a string, can be exciting and
they still look OK, but it's somewhat anticlimactic - there's something
inevitable about it.  I like my birding to be more than stamp collecting
and to have an element of challenge and difficulty about it.  As an
added extra, I think it's less intrusive for the birds if I do it that

Cheers, Lawrie

Lawrie Conole
Geelong, Victoria, Australia

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