Using call playback in bird watching and bird photography.

To: "David Stowe" <>, "Carl Clifford" <>
Subject: Using call playback in bird watching and bird photography.
From: "Robert Inglis" <>
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2012 19:27:24 +1000
Dave, (and Carl to a lesser degree) I am a little confused. A little while ago, in the case of the alleged harassment of a Red Goshawk in the NT, you were happy "to follow Simon's points and try to educate those we think are doing the wrong thing". What has changed?

I have to admit that I am being a little bit selfish in starting this thread as I am trying to protect my personal enjoyment in photographing birds in my own area.

This particular location is the subject of an ongoing, behind the scenes campaign being waged by concerned birders and conservationists to protect this very sensitive Conservation Park. This park is constantly being subject to abuse by people invading the park with their dogs, trail bikes and motor vehicles. The Conservation Park area includes a significant roosting area for shorebirds and terns which are being constantly, deliberately and illegally disturbed by the general tourist element who are encouraged to flock to the area to enjoy its other truly magnificent attributes. It is true that there are many more significant 'problems' which are threatening to devalue the virtues of this once laudable society and which I, as a member of a generation born at a time of world conflict, hold so dear. But, there is, as is always the case, a story behind the story.

I hesitated to report this incident as, knowing the feelings of many bird watchers and bird photographers, I realise there is a great gap between those who believe there is not a lot wrong with using call playback and those who believe it is the work of the devil incarnate. Everyone should note that I am somewhere in between those two positions but I do believe that there are likely repercussion from careless, ill-considered use of call playback.

In this case, I have been warned that the 'local' (at least) Parks and Wildlife personnel are of the opinion that photography in National Parks (and this Conservation Park is claimed by those people) is ILLEGAL. I apologise for the capitalisation there but it must be emphasised. Plainly they are wrong as it is often emphasised in the notes about particular National Parks that one of the encouraged activities in the park is "photography". However, it is illegal to take photographs in national parks for commercial purposes; it is also illegal to take a photo in a national park initially without a commercial purpose in mind but to later use that photo for commercial purposes. I will not go into what constitutes "a commercial purpose" but it should be sufficient to say "you would be surprised". The short of it is that a park warden is probably authorised to determine on the spot if a commercial photographic process is being undertaken and you would have to go through a tortuous process to prove otherwise.

The point of the immediate above is that I have been advised that the 'local' parks and wildlife representatives are quite likely to 'come down hard' on photographers using this hide for photography if a complaint is made about activities where it could reasonably by considered that the wildlife is being unreasonably disturbed. Once again, it is in the power of the local Parks and Wildlife representatives to determine what is "unreasonable". Would that be a good thing as far as birdwatchers and bird photographers are concerned? Would that help to increase the numbers of birdwatchers?

And, how can a case be made to prosecute members of the general public for deliberately or carelessly disturbing shorebirds and terns if birdwatchers/photographers are also deliberately disturbing wildlife for a photograph?

Dave, as a bird watcher of considerable experience and a bird photographer of considerable talent do you really need 'scientific proof' that a bird you are watching is undergoing stress as the result of call playback?

Certainly, deforestation is one of the major curses of our collective lifetimes but does it help if some birdwatchers are only interested in their personal enjoyment at the moment and are not concerned about what their 'now' actions mean for the future?

I thank everyone who has responded to my initial posting, for or against, however, I think it is probably time to close the discussion and I will not comment on this topic again.

Bob Inglis

-----Original Message----- From: David Stowe
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2012 5:19 PM
To: Carl Clifford
Cc: Robert Inglis ; Birding-Aus
Subject: Using call playback in bird watching and bird photography.

Carl  you obviously have too much time on your hands.
Seriously, (not condoning this particular incident at all) are there honestly no bigger issues that we should be focussing on that this? Surely the world and politicians have alot more important things to think about?? Let's focus on the fact that National Parks are being passed back to grazing and half of them turned into game reserves rather than worrying politicians with people at least trying to enjoy the outdoors without killing them! As has been asked for many times - lets see the scientific proof that call playback has a detrimental effect. If it indeed does, let's compare it to the damage done by deforestation and the points mentioned above. Honestly its no wonder there aren't many birdwatchers - as soon as people get into it they are judged like never before by people with far superior morals. Even just birdwatching for ones own personal enjoyment isn't good enough for some on this forum.



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