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Re: recording owl vocalizations

Subject: Re: recording owl vocalizations
From: Syd Curtis <>
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 21:38:09 +1000
Further to the postings quoted below, back in the 1980s I was Assistant
Director (Legislation & Policies) in the National Parks & Wildlife Service
of Queensland; a somewhat frustrating job, for it was created to move me
away from my previous management role where my natural bias towards actuall=
conserving nature was interfering too much with the political wheeling and
dealing of the Service Director.  (I was given what in local public service
jargon, is know as the "lateral arabesque":   And for that same reason, he
immediately directed that there were to be no written policies!

Which left me with legislation, and my last major task before retiring in
1988, was to redraft the National Parks Regulations.  Pertinent to present
considerations was one regulation which at least still existed in
Queensland's 1994 Nature Conservation Regulations.

After the legal experts had edited my draft, it reads:

Noise control

    88.(1)  A person must not use a generator, compressor or other similar
motor in a protected area -

(a) unless its use is permitted under a regulatory notice or permit; or
(b) in contravention of a regulatory notice or permit.

    (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.

I reckoned there was no chance of getting accepted a regulation overtly
banning the use of playback unless for purposes that assist in the
conservation of the species.  Hence the above approach: if playback
unreasonably disturbs a bird, it would be illegal and a ranger could
instruct a person to cease.

Worth considering?

Syd Curtis (in Australia)

*  BTW, The Act under which the regulations were made defines "animal" as
"any member of the animal kingdom (other than human), (whether alive or
dead), and includes etc., etc. ..."


> From: "John Hartog" <>
> Reply-To: 
> Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 17:51:41 -0000
> To: 
> Subject: Re: [Nature Recordists] recording owl vocalizations
>> I couldn't agree with you more but what can you do? In my welcoming
> letter I
>> cautioned the use of playback but I feel most times this falls on
> deaf ears.
> Believe me; my ears have not been deaf to the cautions of playback.
> I'm still new at this stuff - and while I am firmly against using
> playback myself, when it comes to others using it for scientific
> research, It's hard to know what's right or wrong.  But what Rich says
> is probably true, these birds have been bothered enough, and just
> because its research involving the Spotted Owl doesn't mean it's in
> the interest of the Spotted Owl.
> What I enjoy most about nature recording is getting out into nature
> and listening to what natural music still remains in the
> ever-shortening naturally quiet moments between onslaughts of human
> drone.  I hate it when I hike a distance into the wilderness only to
> find the noise of some camper's radio blasting =96 playback is no differe=
> -John Hartog

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


"Microphones are not ears,
Loudspeakers are not birds,
A listening room is not nature."
Klas Strandberg
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