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

To: Denise Goodfellow <>
Subject: Gurney's Pitta Update - Hurry if you want to see one.
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2012 11:24:48 +1000

Kiss is not just just limited to photographers on the Thai-Malay Peninsula. It 
is fairly widespread in the birding community as well as the other "collecting" 

The blame for the decline of Gurney's Pitta must be partially borne by the 
birding fraternity. The practice of paying ridiculous sums of money (by local 
standards) for guiding services has turned Gurny's Pitta and many other bird 
species into commodities. The money that western birders are happy to throw 
around for guides etc., has enticed local peoples to behave less than ethically 
to give their clients what they want. The pressure placed on local guides by 
some foreign birders to come up with the goods can be intense. Makes one 
ashamed to be a birdwatcher at times.

I have only been on one birding tour and have never hired a guide, and am happy 
to keep it that way. I figure that if I can't find it myself just using 
fieldcraft, I don't deserve it. I might not get as many "ticks" as others do, 
but it is not about the quantities of birds seen, it is about the experience of 
finding them.


Carl Clifford 

Sent from my iPad

On 05/06/2012, at 6:41, Denise Goodfellow <> wrote:

> Carl
> 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: “One 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 objects” (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
> Landcare
> 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

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU