Tape Use

To: Birding Oz <>
Subject: Tape Use
From: scott connop <>
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 1997 06:35:52 -0800
In regards to the current thread on tape use, I feel compelled to reply 
as the tone of the thread mirrors the subject as I have heard it debated 
on a number of other fronts. There have always been 2 schools of thought 
on the subject, but one trend I have noticed is that the 2 sides have 
shown one particular trend - the pro tape use school has been backed by a 
lot of birders that have extensive experience with tape use in the field.

In preparing the article that I did for Birders Journal, I used the 
resources and expertise at Cornell's Library of Sounds extensively. The 
subject of proper tape use took up a quarter of the space of the article. 
In the end, we still did not find a single scientific article that 
outlined the " negative " impact of tape use. Nevertheless, we decided to 
approach the subject sensitively, even though most of us who have used 
them for a long time have detected an amazing flow of misinformation 
concerning their use. We always liked to bring up the point of the Cave 
Creek (Arizona) Eared Trogons. These birds were found with tape use for a 
number of years before the refuge succumbed to the same pressure exerted 
on popularly birded areas to prohibit tape use. The birds have 
disappeared from the area a couple of years after tape use was stopped. 
We have a few theories about this, but I won't get into this now.

Our final conclusion was that we would take an approach that humans are 
not real good at. We would preach an ethic of caution that, if followed, 
could keep us from our usual reaction where we create rules to fix 
problems that are often beyond the point of no return. Even though tape 
use has not created a problem that we detect within the populations, we 
are sensitive to the fact that their use bothers other birders, 
especially when they encounter it in the field. There is no doubt that 
their use an a single bird for an extended period of time takes that bird 
out of its other routines as it reacts to playback, but, remember, one of 
its routines is territorial defense which is what it is doing when it 
hears a tape.

I apologize for the length of this, but this subject has been debated for 
a number of years now without much factual input. If anyone is interested 
in the article on tape use, I would be happy to send you an attachment 
upon request.

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