Re: [SPAM] [Birding-Aus] Australian Painted Snipe in Dubbo

To: Chris Sanderson <>
Subject: Re: [SPAM] [Birding-Aus] Australian Painted Snipe in Dubbo
From: L&L Knight <>
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 2009 17:32:56 +1000
Thanks for the reference Chris. To clarify the situation, as those of you who did the survey may recall, I asked people to rank seven potential uses of Birding Aus in order of importance. These were reports of bird sightings, planning trips, equipment issues, informal contact with other birders, bird identification, bird welfare discussions and discussions of environmental issues.

I factor analysed people's responses with SPSS. The Items with the strongest loadings on the first factor were:
Environment   .713

Bird Welfare   .670

Sightings        -.709

Trip Planning -.780

In other words, people who rated discussing environmental and bird welfare issues highly were likely to give a low ranking to being informed about bird sightings and planning trips.

Hard core twitchers were primarily concerned with being informed about bird sightings.

Moderate twitchers were also strongly interested in bird sightings. They also gave planning trips a higher priority than the other groups.

So, there is some substance to Chris' comment regarding fanatical twitchers. However, I didn't directly test people's concern about the environment - just the priority given to alternative uses of Birding- Aus. There may be quite a few hard core twitchers who are passionate about protecting the environment.

It must be time to do another survey  :)

Regards, Laurie

On 03/11/2009, at 10:10 PM, Chris Sanderson 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

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