Rare Bird Alerts Data Capture

To: Richard Baxter <>
Subject: Rare Bird Alerts Data Capture
From: David Stowe <>
Date: Thu, 5 Nov 2009 12:47:03 +1100
Fantastic points raised here Richard and I'm not sure what we do about it. As an avid birder/low level twitcher I actually find it confusing with the number of different outlets - ie do i post to Birding-Aus, eremea, Birds Australia Atlas, Birdpedia ...etc ..or do i too just put it in the too hard basket and just call a couple of mates?! So bringing those perspectives together with one united system would be great - easier to publicise to the masses and less confusing for the others?


On 05/11/2009, at 12:19 PM, Richard Baxter wrote:

Hello Birders,
Personally I don't have a great problem with the current methods of disseminating data in relation to rarity sightings. In most cases, the information gets through relatively quickly, whether its phone call, text, birding-aus or eremaea etc.

I admit receiving sighting details in real-time would be great but my biggest issue is not the receiving of information but the CAPTURE of information.

We have to have the sighting information before we can send it out to the masses. The single most frustrating element of twitching is obviously dipping and I've lost count of the number of rarities that have been reported, days and often over a week after they were first seen.

The question is: How do we make it easy for people to report their sightings?

The reality is that only a very small percentage of people birding in Australia are on Birding-Aus and even fewer have ever heard of Eremaea. Most don't know who or what to ring and therefore many sightings go unreported.

There are many examples.

1. Grey-headed Lapwing. Not reported on B-Aus until days after the initial sighting, Why?

2. Last year I dropped into a remote property near Broome and was talking to the owner, an old bloke, who had built a rain forest in his backyard. He told me he had seen Blue and White Flycatcher and Red- legged Crake in recent years at the pond near his back door! I said," Did you let anyone know, they're pretty interesting birds to see?" He said," I wouldn't know who to tell, mate."

3. A couple of years ago I twitched a bird that had been reported on B- Aus and dipped. Whilst at the location I ran into the bloke that found the bird and ascertained it had arrived 10 days ago and hadn't been seen for the last two days. I asked him why he didn't tell someone sooner and he said," I didn't know who to tell, I've only ever met one serious birdwatcher and that was some bloke from Melbourne, 20yrs ago."

There are thousands of people out there birding everyday, the same thousands that are buying the thousands of field guides each year from bookshops.

Q. A grey nomad sitting in front of his caravan looking over the lake in Kununurra sees a Grey Heron land on the bank 30m away. He checks his field guide and reads that Grey Heron is very rare in Australia. He's not an avid birder, hasn't got the internet in his van and knows no keen birders to ring. How does he tell anyone about the sighting??

How do we capture these sightings to put on rare bird alerts?

Richard Baxter

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