Concerning the pros and cons of using playback of taped calls, I understand
the United Kingdom has quite strict wildlife protection laws that affect
this, and that in fact even placing a microphone near a nest to record may,
in some circumstances, be an offence. Can anyone give details of the Act or
Regulation involved? Or of relevant laws in any other country?
In Queensland one may not use tapes on any National Park or other
"protected area" in a way that causes "unreasonable disturbance" to a
native animal, which of course includes birds:
Section 88 of Nature Conservation Regulation, No.473, 1994, contains the
"(2) A person must not use a radio, tape recorder or other sound or
amplifier system in a way that may cause unreasonable disturbance to a
person or native animal in a protected area.
"Maximum penalty - 50 penalty units."
Protected area covers National Park, Nature Refuge, Coordinated
Conservation Area, Wilderness Area, World Heritage Management Area, and
International Agreement Area, in terms of the Queensland Nature
When drafting National Park Regulations in the '80s, I put in the "or
native animal" specifically with the problem of disturbing birds by
playback in mind, though I doubt that Cabinet in making the reg.
appreciated that possibility. I'm pleased to see it retained in the
current regs. Likewise I don't know if the Rangers in the field appreciate
its possibilities (I retired from the Service in '88) but it's there and
can be used if ever there's a problem serious enough to warrant action.
The Blue Rock-thrush, of course, is not a native, so twichers would not be
offending even if they did cause that poor lonely stray unreasonable
disturbance. Think of its joy when it hears what it thinks is another of
its kind ... and its disappointment to find just a twitcher with a tape
recorder! Maybe the reg. should be extended by adding "or any bird wild by
Syd Curtis at Hawthorne, Queensland.
H Syd Curtis