Attracting birds with calls

To: "Robert Inglis" <>
Subject: Attracting birds with calls
From: Ricki Coughlan <>
Date: Sat, 13 Jan 2007 13:53:12 +1100

It's a fair call Bob, if you'll excuse the pun. I do a bit of pishing and calling at times and suspect that despite the fantastic quality of my bird imitations :-) that there is probably more of the curiosity factor bringing birds out for the most part. I'm definitely not a fan of the "Playback" thing as I prefer the birdcraft of learning the habits, song, etc. of the bird and knowing where to go, what to look for and when to wait, as I said in an earlier posting. I've once birded in the company of someone who was attempting to display some kind of birding expertise with with loud and constant pishing and calling and banging on tree hollows to disturb roosting nightjars. All he did was drive me crazy and he actually scared every bird in the area off.

I'm not sure that birds coming out for a quick look are overly exposed to predation as the chances of that would be so very low for the most part and I find that they generally remain ready for a quick exit. However, if anyone has a story about this taking place, it would be of interest.

Ricki Coughlan

On 13/01/2007, at 1:38 PM, Robert Inglis wrote:

A recent thread has been discussing using electronic devices to play bird calls. I have interpreted some comments to say that some birders are simply referring to the recorded calls as an in-the-field aid to identification. Other comments seem to say that some birders are attempting (and sometimes succeeding) to attract birds by playing the recordings out loud.

I am not going to try to dump my extremely high standards of morals and sense of right and wrong on anyone but I simply wish to ask the question: "Is there any real difference between using a recorded bird call or physically trying to imitate that bird's call or 'pishing' to try to cause a bird to present itself for a clear view by the observer?"

It seems to me that in each case the aim is to bring the bird out into the open. Regardless of how this is done, doesn't it still agitate the bird and possibly expose it to predation?


Bob Inglis
Sandstone Point


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