Avian challenge

To: 'Canberra Birds' <>
Subject: Avian challenge
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Sat, 4 Sep 2021 05:21:04 +0000

For what it is worth, the two changes Martin refers to, were introduced by me when I designed version 3 of the GBS chart, which was issued from June 1993. All fully explained on pages 9 to 15 of The GBS Report. Rosemary’s idea is fine but I see little benefit in comparing it to the GBS. That is just too complicated.




From: Canberrabirds [ On Behalf Of Martin Butterfield via Canberrabirds
Sent: Saturday, 4 September, 2021 2:29 PM
To: Chris Davey
Cc: Canberra birds
Subject: Re: [Canberrabirds] Avian challenge


A small nit-pick.  You refer to birds " seen using the garden (or 100m radius)".  That was certainly the original GBS rules but it was changed at some stage to remove the need for the birds to be "using" the garden and all birds seen or heard within the site became eligible.  That simplfies the process even more as the observer doesn't have to worry about behaviour, just presence.




On Sat, 4 Sept 2021 at 14:19, Chris Davey <> wrote:

I like what I thought was the original idea and that was to keep folk amused whilst locked up at home. Cannot be too complicated so just a daily record of maximum number of species at one time seen using the garden (or 100m radius), in other words GBS rules.




From: Rosemary Blemings [
Sent: Saturday, 4 September 2021 12:13 PM
To: ; Chris Davey
Subject: Avian challenge


Thank you Lia and Chris for your valuable responses to my draft Avian challenge for Flynn walkers and incarcerated folk. 


The aims of the challenge might include:


  • offering a diversionary activity for those who are frustrated and/or consider themselves bored 
  • showing that there are different ways to utilise the ‘spare’ time Covid has forced on  them
  • the bonus of possibly moving people towards being more observant of things and particularly nature in their LOCAL neighbourhoods 
  • possibly moving people towards seeing their home as habitat, a place shared with thousands of other species and millions of organisms
  • possibly moving people towards the appreciation of species inter-relationships 
  • seeing the outdoors and nature as a classroom, a constant opportunity to learn as their curiosity is stimulated
  • people beginning to appreciate humans’ effects on other species
  • offering ways to use ‘computers’ as tools (rather than objects of obsession) as they extend their avian observations towards citizen science and researching through the links the list’s notes supplies. 



My list is/was one way to achieve simplicity whilst suggesting an activity. Hence the used of size and likely presence in the Flynn area. 


I tried to be aware of others’ viewpoints and the likelihood that people have never had time to be interested in birds. 


  • people are unlikely to have binoculars 
  • people may be at very early stages of appreciation of nature, of understanding the diversity of bird species
  • people may experience other species as nuisances that upset the order they create in their homes and gardens
  • people may be reluctant naturalists 
  • they may resent 'ticking things off’ even though the hunting and classifying instincts are strong human traits
  • people may not have considered that each local species has different:
    • calls
    • plumage colours and patterns
    • specific movement and flight styles - jizz
    • sedentary and migration attributes
    • diet & foraging requirements
    • shelter/habitat and territorial needs
    • nest types


It’s to be hoped this would be an adaptable activity and a work in progress as would each person’s compilation.


I suppose the challenge is a very modest, non-Facebook variation of the very popular and therapeutic BirdTheFeckAtHome for non-naturalists. BTFAH has attracted participants from scores of countries. 



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