A world first! - New Birds Australia Special Interest Group

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Subject: A world first! - New Birds Australia Special Interest Group
From: Robert Gosford <>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2007 11:10:45 +0930
Dear all,

Good news from the recent Birds Australia Annual General Meeting on the
approval for a BA Ethnoornithology Special Interest Group as related
in the most recent BA E-News.

As indicated in the message attached below the new SIG will be looking for BA members
interested in ethnoornithology to take up positions on the committee.

One event the new ESIG could become involved in the the conduct of the
proposed Ethnoornithology Symposium to be held at the Australasian
Ornithological Conference in Perth, Western Australia in December this
year. There are many other projects that could also be considered.

I believe that this is a big advance for ethnoornithology in part
because it is the first international peak ornithological body to
recognise ethnoornithology as an integral part of contemporary
ornithology and worthy of institutional recognition, support and guidance -
which I consider to be an important step in raising the profile,
activity and acceptance of ethnoornithology and cultural-based bird

If you want to be involved in the work of this group please send your expressions
of interest in serving on the inaugural committee via the ERSG site
at: , by return email or
to me at 


Robert Gosford

E-News article begins:

"New Ethnoornithology Special Interest Group

Birds Australia has established the Ethnoornithology Special Interest
Group (ESIG). This was resolved by Council at its meeting in May. The
impetus for this has come out of the Ethnoornithology Research & Study
Group which was established in January 2006 following the successful
conduct of a day-long Ethnoornithology Symposium at the 2005
Australasian Ornithological Congress at Blenheim New Zealand. The
prime mover for this study group has been Robert Gosford.

Ethnoornithology is the study of the relationship between people and
birds (from "ethno-" - relating to people and culture - and
"ornithology" - the study of birds). It is a branch of ethnozoology
and so of the wider field of ethnobiology. Ethnoornithology is an
interdisciplinary subject and combines anthropological, cognitive and
linguistic perspectives with natural scientific approaches to the
description and interpretation of people's knowledge and use of birds.

Like ethnoscience and other cognate terms, "ethnoornithology" is
sometimes used narrowly to refer to people's practice rather than the
study of that practice. The broader focus is on how birds are
perceived, used and managed in human societies, including their use
for food, medicine and personal adornment, as well as their use in
divination and ritual. Applied ethnoornithological research is also
starting to play an increasingly important role in the development of
conservation initiatives.

Further information on the ERSG and the activities of its members can
be found at the website:

Council will now work to establish rules for the ESIG and then call
for nominations for a Committee and other members."


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