That 'Poll'

Subject: That 'Poll'
From: Russell Woodford <>
Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2001 01:32:45 +1100
I'd like to make a few comments about the cannon netting 'poll' and the summary we were given by the person who calls themselves 'Night Parrot' on this mailing list. Sorry to those who (like me) are thoroughly sick of this topic - especially when it has been dealt with comprehensively by people like Frank O'Connor - yes, and by NP etc for the other side of the argument.

1. I'm not sure when this turned from a 'thread' into a 'poll'. 'Night Parrot' posted a fairly detailed message on 8 Feb <"Cannon Netting Waders (longish)">, mainly in response to some questions posed by Marilyn Davis. A number of people replied to the 11 questions in NP's message. Then on 4 March we heard from NP again, this time talking about a poll of 157 'randomly selected birdwatchers from New South Wales and Victoria'. Was this done online? There was no explanation of how it was conducted, how the participants were 'randomly' chosen, whether or not they were birding-aus members. Why NSW and Vic? Why not WA where a lot of cannon netting is carried out? Anyway - it was obviously a 'straw poll' - just a quick question put to a number of people known to the researcher. And I should probably avoid the term 'research' because it clearly lacks any sort of methodology or rigour - perhaps it would be better to keep calling it a 'discussion' or 'thread'.

2.  Some of the comments in the 'summary' are insulting and almost defamatory:
"it would be helpful if I could get a little more info about why so many observers feel that association with cannon netting taints ones reputation" This is a very emotive statement - and I can't recall anyone suggesting anything this strong on birding-aus. Sure, we've had a variety of opinions, but I don't believe there have been personal attacks against those who have explained some of the rationale of cannon netting - other than some strong comments from NP him/herself.

3. "Other frequent comments such as c-n participants show a general lack of competence relating to wader field identification" This is hard to believe - OK, one or two ignorant respondents might suggest this sort of thing - but most of us recognise that the people doing this sort of research are amongst the MOST experienced bird observers in this country. I can't accept that a large number of people would come up with a comment like this.

4. The "arousal" comment starts to shed light on NP's 'survey' - it surely is just an attempt to ridicule those who have contributed to this discussion in support of this mode of bird research. And perhaps to fan the flames of this debate yet again.

5. As others have pointed out more elegantly, who is going to accept the validity of 'research' findings where not only the participants, but also the researcher/ compiler hide behind a veil of secrecy and anonimity.

6. Why is this dicussion dragging on? We've heard just about every possible angle. OK - some people don't like cannon netting. Some object to it strongly. But I can't see why we have to keep going over the same ground. Read the archive if necessary - but let's finish this topic.

I suppose I should be democratic and leave room for NP's reply to my comments. But can we FINISH this thread by the end of the week - PLEASE? Carry on your own private stoushes if you like - but don't waste bandwidth with this topic any more.


Russell Woodford
Birding-Aus List Manager
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