Has eBird made people selfish with sightings?

To: "" <>
Subject: Has eBird made people selfish with sightings?
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Fri, 6 Sep 2019 00:57:03 +0000

Shorty asked a curious question. In commenting I disclose that I don’t look at ebird (at least very rarely). My reaction is to suggest Shorty is being a little harsh or unrealistic with the line “some wish to hide the birds they see and at times do not post their sightings until the next day?” That seems to me to be critical and making the link of “delay” to “hide” as somewhat unfair.


I don’t think it fair to assume that each of us are under obligation to report everything (that may be unusual) immediately. As for me, if I am out, I am out, and could only send a message from my computer when I get home. Maybe next day is the best that someone can do. Even so, who is to say that whoever else has the option to immediately go and check out a site. The bird may have gone 5 minutes later anyway……….Also people will not all have the same opinion as to what is worth reporting. A few weeks ago I typed up the story of watching a Peregrine hunting beside Mt Taylor. That was not to because I expect anyone to go in search of the bird, it was to tell a story of an enjoyable watching event that could have happened anywhere.


I would also add to what Martin wrote as “By posting to eBird the information becomes available to the world wide community instantly”. I suggest more important in the long run than “instantly” is that it is “permanently”.




From: Geoffrey Dabb [
Sent: Friday, 6 September, 2019 9:39 AM
Subject: FW: [canberrabirds] Has eBird made people selfish with sightings?


Opinions?   Dear me, Shorty, I fear I would be breaking more than one rule of this chatline.


Made selfish?  Well, we would need to look at the people you have in mind, Shorty, and ask if they were not selfish in the first place.


Protection of rare birds?   Many so-called rarities are simply rare here, being out of the normal range.  However, the popularity of digital photography has changed so many things.  A report of a Regent Honeyeater or A Painted-snipe can be guaranteed to draw a host of snappers, edging ever closer to their target.  EBird is no help here.  When the painted-snipe were reported at Lake Road I met one snapper who had driven a considerable distance, and had to be dissuaded from climbing the fence, something that would certainly have caused anxiety to the birds.  I know of many examples of such behaviour.


The point must be made that there is a demonstrable disconnect between eBird and this chatline.  The recent reporting of local appearance of an oriole or 2 overlooked the fact that the species had been reported locally 13 times on eBird in June and July, including 7 times in Shorty’s front yard.  The species can be found here all year in the sense of individuals  passing through.


From: Martin Butterfield <>
Sent: Friday, 6 September 2019 8:03 AM
To: shorty <>
Cc: COG Chat <>
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Has eBird made people selfish with sightings?


I think it is very harsh to say eBird has made people competitive and selfish.  By posting to eBird the information becomes available to the world wide community instantly, and I believe if you use 'wanted' lists (which I don't)  the sighting comes to you as soon as the list is accepted by eBird.  


The reasons people don't post details of their lists are many and varied including:

  1. protecting rare birds;
  2. not risking their access to private properties;
  3. don't like the tone of some discussions on the chat list.

I do appreciate Shorty's "I am now seeing species x at location y posts" but I don't usually send emails from my phone so don't do this.  But I do usually post my sightings to eBird as soon as I have finished at the site.




On Thu, 5 Sep 2019 at 22:58, shorty <> wrote:

Hi all,


When i first started birding i used the chatline and later on eBird to locate birds i wanted to see in Canberra. Once i joined the chatline and later eBird i have posted my sightings of rare or unusual birds as soon as i have seen them to alert other birders.


I have noticed over time that some wish to hide the birds they see and at times do not post their sightings until the next day?


I wish everyone could see the birds we get rare or otherwise and would hope that the day will come (back) that everyone would share these sightings for all to see.


In my opinion eBird has made made people far too competitive and far too selfish, a real shame.





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