Field guide survey - update & reminder

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Field guide survey - update & reminder
From: Lawrie Conole <>
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 10:16:00 +1000
Hi birders

So far there have been over 90 responses - a greater number than either the 1998 or 1999 surveys - thankyou!. 

Most of the respondents so far (19/8/2003) are from Victoria, with a smaller number from NSW, Qld, SA, WA and the ACT.  Just one from the NT so far, and none yet from Tasmania.  None were received from Tasmania in either of the two previous surveys either!  The response from WA has been great in 2003 - largely absent from the two earlier surveys.  There are a few from outside Australia too (UK, Sweden and NZ).

More responses will be taken until 15 September 2003.  The results so far are not at all what I expected, but the trends could still change before the survey closes.  Please join in and expand those samples for the main field guides - it will make any statistical analysis more meaningful at the end.

Quite a few birders have baulked at the question about life list size, and some have felt the need to deny any 'twitching' tendencies.  I'm quite comfortable with the practice of 'twitching' (listing, ticking - whatever), so you don't need to explain yourselves to me!  The reasons that I ask this question are as follows:
  1. Along with age and number of years birding, it gives some measure of the kind of birder you are - superficial of course, but it is a number and therefore the data can be crunched!
  2. I divide the life list total by number of years birding to give a crude 'twitcher index' = birds added per year of birding.  This does somewhat reflect people's birding intensity.  For example if you have a life list of 700 but got there in 20 years, your TI = 35 (35 new birds per year).  If you got there in 5 years, TI = 140.  That indicates a very different attitude to birding, and perhaps by association, to field guides.
Humour me - most people know roughly how many species they've seen (as they do roughly how many years they've been birding).  I don't need a specific number - ball park will do - to the nearest 100 or 50.

The questions are appended below .........

Cheers, Lawrie

  1. Where do you live (which Nation, state, city)?
  2. What gender & age brackets do you fit into? [M/F] [<20] [20-40] [40-60] [>60].
  3. How many years have you been ‘birding’?
  4. How many species of Australian birds have you seen (recorded on your life list, if you have one or an estimate if you don't)?
  5. Please indicate which Australian birding field guides you own (ranking in order of preference):
    1. Cayley;
    2. Flegg;
    3. Morcombe;
    4. Pizzey & Doyle;
    5. Pizzey & Knight;
    6. Simpson & Day (indicate edition);
    7. Slater, 2 volumes;
    8. Slater, Slater & Slater, 1 volume;
    9. other ... specify.
  6. What is your favourite Australian birding field guide?
    1. Cayley;
    2. Flegg;
    3. Morcombe;
    4. Pizzey & Doyle;
    5. Pizzey & Knight;
    6. Simpson & Day (indicate edition);
    7. Slater, 2 volumes;
    8. Slater, Slater & Slater, 1 volume;
    9. other ... specify.

Please indicate if you use more than one field guide on birding excursions (e.g. carry one and keep one in the car).

  1. The reason(s) for your choices in Q5 & 6 (in 100 words or less!).

Lawrie Conole
Senior Ecologist
Ornithology & Terrestrial Ecology
Ecology Australia Pty. Ltd.
Flora and Fauna Consultants
88B Station Street
FAIRFIELD VIC 3078 Australia
E-mail: m("","lconole");">
Ph: (03) 9489 4191; Mob: (0419) 588 993
Fax: (03) 9481 7679
ABN 83 006 757 142

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