Gurney's Pitta Update - Hurry if you want to see one.

To: Carl Clifford <>, Peter Shute <>
Subject: Gurney's Pitta Update - Hurry if you want to see one.
From: Denise Goodfellow <>
Date: Tue, 05 Jun 2012 06:11:43 +0930

John Liep, anthropologist, has compared birdwatching with the ownership of
objects called kula, on the Trobriand Islands.  Malinowski was intrigued to
find that these objects were of great value to Trobriand Islander men, and
they went to great lengths to acquire them, although kula had no obvious
use.  (One could also draw parallels with certain paraphernalia used in
western society).

Liep wrote: ³One can discern common human (or at least male) traits (in the
ownership of kula and birdwatching).  In both there is competition, rivalry,
trust and distrust, and a similar striving for self promotion through the
appropriation of desired objects² (2001: p. 11).

This sort of behaviour isn't confined to men, or just birders.  As others
have pointed out, photographers can behave badly as well, as seems to be the
case with Gurney's Pitta.

Phillip Veerman ought to be commended for not wishing to add this bird to
his list. His attitude ought to be the benchmark.

Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow
1/7 Songlark Street, Bakewell NT 0832, AUSTRALIA
Ph. 61 08 89 328306
Mobile: 04 386 50 835

Birdwatching and Indigenous tourism consultant
PhD Candidate (Southern Cross University, NSW)
Interpreter/transcriber, Lonely Planet Guide to Aboriginal Australia
Vice-chair, Wildlife Tourism Australia; ecotourism adviser, Mitchell Creek
Nominated by Earthfoot (2004) for Conde Nast's Traveler International Award


on 4/6/12 6:14 PM, Carl Clifford at  wrote:

> Peter,
> There is a Hokkien Chinese word, kiasu, which means "fear of losing or missing
> out". There are,unfortunately, bird photographers on the Thai-Malaysian
> peninsula who have very high kiasu levels. I have seen bird photographers
> behaving in such a manner on the Thai-M/sia pen., that I have, at times, made
> me so mad that I have felt like inserting their long lenses into their
> alimentary tract retrogradely.
> As for the playing calls for hours, I think that is desperation, not
> technique.
> Cheers,
> Carl Clifford
> Sent from my iPad
> On 04/06/2012, at 17:41, Peter Shute <> wrote:
>> "Climate change
>> and disturbance in the park are affecting the pitta in a bad way,
>> photographers are the main culprits with numerous photographers and
>> videographers setting up hides and playing Gurney's Pitta calls all day
>> long. It seems they only care about getting the perfect photo, not the
>> bird's welfare! Most (not all) of the recent photos and Youtube videos have
>> been obtained this way. We saw one of these guys in a hide at another park
>> trying to get Blue Pitta photos, playing the call for hours!"
>> So playing the call for hours does work? If the bird doesn't respond for that
>> long, is it really responding, or just happened to turn up?
>> And why would someone be so desperate to get a photo? Are Gurney's Pitta
>> photos valuable?
>> Peter Shute
>> --------------------------
>> Sent using BlackBerry

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