birding-aus OCD

Subject: birding-aus OCD
From: "David Parker" <>
Date: Mon, 08 Nov 1999 16:47:52 EST

OCD (or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Hmmmm what is life in the birding world coming to?

I have subscribed to birding-aus to hear about all the interesting sitings which people have made of the bird world, but to date I have been largely dissapointed. First off I get to read all about how to cook a turkey and then I'm bombarded with 'Twitchathoning' and testosterone charged "Twitchers" who find it most important to put a number against the birds they have seen. I agree with Chris in that it is fantastic to see such rivalry and group spirit. People in search of that illusive bird which might just give them that extra record to tip them over the lne to victory. But at the end of the day what have we got out of it? An idea of the distribution of the species seen, sore eyes, a migrane or two, boosted egos and a self-induced tension of hope (hope that we're the winners) Good one!! What haven't we got out of it which we might have if we sat and watched a little longer. A bit about the behaviour of the bird, maybe its social structure, or maybe even its interaction or role in the wider bird community.

So often in the conservation world two words are placed next to a species. "Insufficently Known". Imagine what we could learn if for one day, all the twitchers were to watch one bird each and write down everything which the bird does, be it eat, drink, call, fly or ...... yeah anyway. Maybe this thought is less than perfect and has obvious flaws, but what if? I for one would be happy to do this, and in my own time, away from work this is what I a starting to do more of.

This is not an intended stab at people for being single orientated. Looking at this years participants there are alot of names which are highly regarded and full of people who not only work with conservation agencies, but live the style away from work. Dedication abounds. I am merely stating what I see.

I shall wait it out and dare I say the twitchaton will be forgotten till next year, and I look forward to hearing of more sitings from all over.

For the past four months I have been living in the Plains around Deniliquin, and with the infamous Phil Maher, have been able to make a few sitings which may interest people.

Plains-wanderers are a focal point. Each night for five nights I have been out with Phil on a property 30 mins from Conargo and all but one night we have seen a male and female bird. On one of these nights we observed the loyal male, sitting with three chicks. On ohter nights a pair was seen parading themselves, making notions of future romps on the plains. Can't watch for too long, even birds need their privacy.

My first ever sighting of a Letter-winged Kite was also whilst out with Phil. However we only saw this bird on the one occasion and on trips since have only seen Black-shouldered Kite's (everywhere). Phil was saying that it have been some time (about 7 or more) since a Letter-winged was seen in the area. I was wondering if anyone else has seen any lately.

Mention has been made in the past of large numbers of Barn Owls. This too is being observed in the Riverina area and on one night about 10 Barn Owls were seen, all within a half kilometre drive. Phil relates this to the growing numbers of mice which are slowly heading down from the north.

Anyway, for my first email to this group I think I have wrote enough. Look forward to reading more.



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