I'd be interested in seeing Laurie's research. I've some US papers that
mention this as well.
I've twice, in 26 years, been guiding birders who have either entered
private property or gone into sensitive habitat. The last one, a woman just
a few months ago, entered a preschool grounds after a bird. A few have been
disgruntled when I refused to play tapes to call up birds in particular
The biggest issue in the Top End that I'm aware of is birders entering the
sewage ponds without a permit, resulting in management becoming very upset
to the point of threatening to arrest them. Consequently, access to the
ponds has been further tightened.
However, in my experience up here, combat or gonzo birders (as they're
called in the US) tend to put themselves at risk more than the birds, for
instance insisting on going out when it's very hot and humid. Two, whom I
refused to accompany one stinking hot afternoon, later collapsed with heat
The desire to systematise eg by stamp collecting or twitching, seems to be a
feature of the male brain according to research I've read.
Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow
PO Box 3460 NT 0832, AUSTRALIA
Ph. 61 08 89 328306
Mobile: 04 386 50 835
Birdwatching and Indigenous tourism consultant
http://www.theloveofood.com (Rowan Goodfellow Thompson)
on 3/11/09 9:40 PM, Chris Sanderson at wrote:
> Hi Tim,
> I believe in the UK a small number of rare birds have died from constant
> harassment leading to an inability to feed to recover from a long trip.
> This is possibly what Peter is referring to? Also I hear from various
> sources of cases where twitchers (usually identity unknown) have been
> observed by landholders to tresspass to look for birds. This still appears
> to be a sadly common occurrence, though as you say, its not fair to tar all
> twitchers with that brush as I know many who wouldn't enter a property
> without permission. However those that do give all birders, not just
> twitchers, a bad name with the general public.
> I will say this though, a recent study by our own Dr Laurie Knight showed
> that the more fanatical a twitcher is, the less they care about
> conservation. That's hard data from a fairly broad survey there (I hope
> I've paraphrased your work correctly there Laurie, feel free to jump in if
> I'm misquoting).
> As for earlier questions about collectors, I'd love to hear from someone in
> the customs department, but I know for a fact they are still finding living
> animals being smuggled, and I have little doubt that the same would go for
> dead animals - there are a lot of people for whom collecting skins/specimens
> is akin to stamp collecting (or pokemon for the younger people out there
> reading this...gotta catch em all). Look no further than our own official
> bodies - out there looking to collect one or several of the newly found
> Spotted Quail-Thrush in Far North QLD before they even know if its a new
> species or even how many there are in the population...
> Back to the point at hand. I thought the objection was over GPS
> co-ordinates being given in an open online forum. A general location in the
> email with an offer of directions offline would be fine I would think, as
> suggested by an earlier poster. At least that means someone wanting to
> break the law has to leave evidence in the form of an email if they want the
> On Tue, Nov 3, 2009 at 6:06 PM, Tim Jones <> wrote:
>> What do the 'fanatical Twitchers' do? I reckon this is mostly just
>> sensationalised hearsay. I see so much prattle about the terrible harm they
>> do, but I have yet to see a properly substantiated report of something which
>> has had any serious effect on wildlife and I've been on many, many
>> 'fanatical twitches' in my time.
>> There are a few people who go a bit too far in their pursuit, but most
>> 'fanatical twitchers' are also fanatical conservationists and also want
>> future generations to share their joy of seeing wonderful places and
>> wonderful wildlife.
>> I just wish people would get things in proportion. This kind of statement
>> tars us all with the same brush and just gets us all a bad name.
>> NB I'm not arguing about the need to be judicious with information.
>>> To: ;
>>> Subject: Re: [SPAM] [Birding-Aus] Australian Painted Snipe in Dubbo
>>> Date: Tue, 3 Nov 2009 11:28:29 +1100
>>> CC: ;
>>> Hi Peter, my main concern was the Painted Snipe, and yes I do believe
>>> there are people who would take a Painted Snipe for their collection. Its
>>> different than collecting feathers a subject that as been discussed
>>> on this forum. Collecting feathers appears to be a harmless pastime on
>>> surface but you can imagine someone who as all the feathers of all the
>>> parrot species except for the Night Parrot. I could easily see such a
>>> trying to find out where to find one and going out and shooting it to get
>>> the feather.You only have to see what some of the fanatical Twitchers get
>>> to at times to understand the need to be alert to whom you give
>>> to. Thankfully it is only a small minority that are involved in such