I agree. I write about this sort of behaviour at length in my PhD thesis.
The effect on indigenous people of such guiding services was one reason why
I designed tourism training for semi-traditional relatives in Arnhem Land
the way I did. I also targeted markets that would fit my relatives and not
the other way round. Unfortunately too few offering such training have much
of an idea of the long-term effects if they get it wrong.
As a guide I've sometimes been placed under pressure to come up with the
goods. But Jonathon Franzen didn't describe me as 'elegant but formidable'
And yes I'm with you on the experience as well. I just loved wandering
around the forest at Sepilok looking at whatever came my way. And if I'm
fortunate enough to find a like-minded soul to wander with I'm in my
on 5/6/12 10:54 AM, Carl Clifford at wrote:
> 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" pastimes.
> 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:
>> 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:
>>> 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,
>>> 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