Spot on alan re the complexities of information and questions of power when it
comes to threatened species etc. But ... as we all know there is considerable
diversity characterising the participants on the birding-aus list, ranging from
individuals who spot an occasional bird to ecological consultants and
professionals involved in critical policy work, to various commercial
operators, whether birding tours and/or photography and/or other business
activities. And there are, whether we like it or not, a handful of cronies who
work exclusively for the development industry, whether in a scientific capacity
or whatever, who observe these sorts of lists to try and preempt development
consent problems, among other things. Oh, yes, some of these cronies may very
well have individual interests in birds of course. Good on them.
I for one have major problems with the idea that the information posted to this
list can be used by commercial operators who are not actively involved in
ethically approved, professionally motivated conservation initiatives and
management, but there ain't nothin I can do about this except express my
concerns from time to time as cases come up.
I've learnt that if I come across a significant sighting it is in the best
interests of the birds themselves for a report to be made that is not
coordinate specific: I might mention the general area, but most certainly I
would not give specific location details on a public list such as this. There
might conceivably be situations where I would provide specific details, but I
would be very careful in trying to manage the use of information so provided.
For example, if a commercial birding tour company wanted to find out where I
saw a Masked Owl last week in the Lake Macquarie area after I posted a sighting
to this list, they would be welcome to contact me personally to request
information, but I would want to be very very sure about the punters involved
before I passed any details on. I might run a check on their activities to
determine whether they were ethical operators, or just cronies in to make a
fast buck while pretending to "care" about bird matters: I might label this the
I would also expect any information used or gleaned * that is again USED OR
GLEANED - by commercial operators to be treated like any other commercial
transaction: you pay for what you get. If someone tries to get away with using
information without acknowledgement of the source for commercial benefit, then
I think it perfectly reasonable for the commercial operator to, for example,
perhaps expect a letter from a solicitor requesting further details.
If any individuals or commercial operators rely on this list for information,
surely it is reasonable to expect, if not some direct or indirect contribution
to birding-aus, then at least some acknowledgement of the role of this
organisation and a “Thanks for all the fish” disclaimer!
To me, this is the beginnings of best practice. But ... someone might have
some better ideas.
Birding-Aus is now on the Web at
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message 'unsubscribe
birding-aus' (no quotes, no Subject line)