BAD birding, a way to bird more often with a special focus

To: "'Philip Veerman'" <>, "'Alan Gillanders'" <>, "'Birding'" <>
Subject: BAD birding, a way to bird more often with a special focus
From: "Paul Dodd" <>
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 16:21:29 +1100
I think that we need to understand that birding is a broad church and what
one person gets out of their participation may be vastly different to what
another person gets out of it. The fact that some people like to compete -
Twitchathons (Big Days), Big Months, Big Years and so on, whilst others
don't engage in competitions is simply the way that it goes. That one person
doesn't understand, or is uninterested in, another's mode of participation
is, quite frankly, irrelevant. I, for instance, am competitive by nature and
will (given the opportunity) turn anything into a race or game. On the other
hand, some of my friends are completely turned-off by the idea of competing.
I suspect that Ruth has developed a competitive streak due to participating
with me. Similarly, birding is not necessarily about data collection or the
direct understanding of birds and bird behaviour, and nor is it necessarily
directly about conservation (shock, horror!)

As someone that is keenly interested in increasing the participation in
birding as an activity, I am acutely aware of this. Whilst some activities
may seem frivolous, they often have a serious side. For instance, the
discussion in this thread is about the "Bird A Day" activity. Some people
participating in this event may consider this to be a competition, others
are simply participating for the enjoyment of it. Bird A Day was held, in
North America, for the first time in 2008, and has been going ever since. As
far a I am aware, the first participants in Australia were this year
(possibly some people had a go in 2012). The rules have been tweaked
slightly, but the design of the event is to have people participate in
birding on a daily basis (for as long as they can manage). The competition
aspect is designed to make people think about their birding - plus, there is
an element of strategy about it - for example, if you see a Grey Falcon and
a Common Starling on the first day, you would clearly count the Grey Falcon,
because there is only a very slim chance of seeing that again for the
remainder of the year, unless you knew that you were going to a site that
could guarantee that species. Bird A Day was designed to accommodate bird
watchers of all ages and levels of experience, and was specifically designed
to accommodate birders that want to (or are able to) travel, and those that
do not or cannot.

Don't underestimate the value of participation and its impact, ultimately,
on conservation. I took the liberty of looking up the word "complacency"
when writing this response - a particularly apt definition, from the
Merriam-Webster online dictionary reads, "an instance of usually unaware or
uninformed self-satisfaction". I make this observation simply because, in my
opinion, participation leads to awareness, resulting in much less
complacency. To my mind, a key part of the conservation puzzle is to have
people aware of issues - and a way to have people become aware is to
participate. And sure, participation does not necessarily mean engaging in
frivolous competitions, but there is certainly a place for this sort of
thing. I tend to find that young people in particular enjoy an element of
competition - and if this helps in any way to raise awareness, then I for
one say, "let the games begin!"

Paul Dodd
Docklands, Victoria

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Philip Veerman
Sent: Wednesday, 11 December 2013 11:41 AM
To: 'Alan Gillanders'; 'Birding'
Subject: BAD birding, a way to bird more often with a special

Seems like yet another weird idea for a competition. Not one I would ever
bother with or be interested in. I can't afford to travel around but that is
not my main reason. But surely the issue is whether you need to choose which
is the species you nominate for that day (at the start or end of each day?)
and if this is now set, or if you can juggle these around later to fit in
with what happens later, as your examples show. A computer spreadsheet
should be able to accommodate either method. It appears "one cannot store
birds for future days when BADing" answers my question. That makes it sound
like the first alternate is the way it is done and that an arbitrary rule
(one cannot) has been set by other people (for whatever reason I can't
imagine), with no reason to apply it to yourself, except to set the object
of the event as a lottery combined with a rather frivolous competition (like
a TV show), in which the rules make it hard to see how this data method can
contribute to adding to bird knowledge.  


-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Alan
Sent: Wednesday, 11 December 2013 10:37 AM
To: Birding
Subject: BAD birding,a way to bird more often with a special

I bird nearly every day and have done so for some years but this was
something new for me.

I have had fun taking up the Bird a Day (BAD) challenge made last year and
started at the beginning of the year; adding a bird species each day to my
BAD list. Now with 21 days to finish the year I have only eight sure or near
sure things left. It is unlikely that I'll make it through the year but it
has been fun and I would recommend the exercise to others for a year when
you know you are going to do a fair amount of travelling. Russell Woodford,
who I think laid down the challenge, scored 191, Stephen Murray 254 and John
Kooistra 294 birds a day.

It does get you out birding more often, providing more joys and
disappointments. For instance, the first two times I went looking for
Oriental Cuckoo I found it on both occasions but also found less common
species so did not use the cuckoo as the bird for that day, Black Falcon and
House Swift. I then saw Black Falcon another 5 or more times during the year
but when searching for O C, failed to find it. I did find it but chance
recently. Finding 4 more birds for the home block helped too. Another
frustration has been seeing two unusual birds on the one day and picking the
wrong one as to which is more likely to still be there the next day. I have
not kept a year list but it would exceed 1 000 as I was in North & Central
America and Europe for two months and called into Hong Kong for three days.
Three short trips in Australia also added to the birding but one cannot
store birds for future days when BADing. As I stated before if you want to
get through the whole year you should count on doing a fain amount of
travelling but one can set one's own challenge.

If you want to give it a go next year then go to and
register. One can start at any time of year but it is usual start with the
new year.

Good birding and all the best for the festive season to my birding-aus
friends, Alan

Alan's Wildlife Tours
2 Mather Road
Yungaburra 4884

Phone 07 4095 3784
Mobile 0408 953 786

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