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
Sent from my iPad
On 05/06/2012, at 6:41, Denise Goodfellow <> wrote:
> 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
> Nominated by Earthfoot (2004) for Conde Nast's Traveler International Award
> on 4/6/12 6:14 PM, Carl Clifford at wrote:
>> There is a Hokkien Chinese word, kiasu, which means "fear of losing or
>> 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
>> 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
>>> 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