A Carbon Neutral Twitchathon

To: "Chris Sanderson" <>
Subject: A Carbon Neutral Twitchathon
From: "Alistair McKeough" <>
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2007 08:48:56 +1000
Maybe there can be a couple of different categories. One for people who want
a handicap/subjective system and one for people who want to see the most
birds (like me).

The concerns raised about the event being tarnished by lack of "green bona
fides" are worth considering. Personally though, I doubt the broader
community is likely to seize on an annual event where bird nerds compete to
see the most birds in 24 hours as some horrible carbon contributer.

Of course it's not, and on the carbon front everyone would be better off
focusing on what they do for the other 8,736 hours of the year.

"Competitive birdwatching" is not a level playing field. People with more
money to travel, without time constraints like work, partners or kids, who
have cars, et cetera will always have more opportunity to compile bigger
lists. Having said that, I see no reason why a handicap Twitchathon category
couldn't be belted out to encourage people who don't have the opportunity,
time or commitment for the first past the post category. There certainly
seem to be enough people prepared to contribute, and it might lead to some
interesting refinements as it develops. I don't think it should supplant the
mad spirit of the original idea though - go out and see as many species as
you can in 24 hours.

Does anyone have a chopper I can borrow in late October?

On 11/04/07, Chris Sanderson <> wrote:

Hi Michael,

I love it, sounds like Twitchathon poker!  Your full house of Woodswallows
beats my three of Black Cockatoos.  Seriously though I think it's a great
suggestion, and falls in with Margaret Cameron's idea of setting targets
"$10 for 5 raptors" and the like.  Some areas are better for some types of
birds than others though, so tinkering would be required.  For example
normal to get 10 raptor species in a day in Broome, but have a go at
Acanthizids and you'll be sorely disappointed.  And do you rate a freak
twitch, like a Grey-headed Lapwing or something, as better than a really
rare bird that you have a small chance of finding, like a Red Goshawk in
south-east Queensland?  I'd be happy to contribute to a discussion on this
kind of system if people wanted to get it off the ground.


On 4/11/07, Michael Todd <> wrote:
> I reckon that the twitchathon should be shaken up a bit by providing new
> rules and incentives to teams to twitch in different ways some of which
> could be more climate- change friendly. Just about all teams would end
> up with a Silver Gull on their list. However, not all teams would end up
> with Square-tailed Kite. What about a system where different bird
> species scored more highly than the abundant ones. What about a bonus
> system for getting the full swag of a particular suite of birds- say all
> the thornbills? With enough tinkering you could possibly get a system
> that would bring the states onto an even basis so that we could have a
> true Australian competition (I think Stuart Cooney might have looked at
> this with the last twitchathon).

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