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RE: [CALBIRDS] "birdwatchers are the worst"

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  • Kimball Garrett
    Birders: Here is the offending phrase from the L. A. Times: For instance, to a tiny wren, binocular lenses look like the eyes of an unspeakable predator, says
    Message 1 of 10 , Nov 16, 2004
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      Birders:

      Here is the offending phrase from the L. A. Times:

      "For instance, to a tiny wren, binocular lenses look like the eyes of an
      unspeakable predator, says Tracy Albrecht, interpretive specialist for
      the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. So forget
      the big-footed hikers. When it comes to spooking wildlife, Albrecht
      says: "The bird-watchers are the worst."

      A couple of thoughts....

      First, don't blame the L. A. Times, Lidia. The author was simply
      quoting an "interpretive specialist."

      Second, I am not aware of any behavioral studies that support the absurd
      suggestion that birders terrify wrens (etc.) by looking at them through
      binoculars. Sometimes we birders are tempted to believe that binoculars
      scare birds because birds sometimes fly off as soon as we get them in
      our bins. I don't know what kind of bad experiences this "interpretive
      specialist" has had with birders, but her "big-eyed" hypothesis is
      small-brained at best. To see what really terrifies birds, why not look
      at another article in the Outdoors section about the Baja road race!

      Finally, this whole "protection" initiative for Bighorns is being
      spearheaded by the Coachella Valley Association of Governments. If any
      of you have looked at what has happened to the Coachella Valley in the
      last couple of decades, with wholesale conversion of natural desert
      habitats to golf courses, car dealerships, condos, artificial lakes,
      casinos, etc., it is clear that there is no true governmental will in
      that area to protect wildlife and habitats..... until now, that is, when
      "multispecies conservation planning" will allow continued development in
      exchange for some token protections.

      Grumpily,

      Kimball

      Kimball L. Garrett
      Ornithology Collections Manager
      Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
      900 Exposition Blvd.
      Los Angeles CA 90007
      (213) 763-3368
      (213) 746-2999 FAX
      kgarrett@...
    • Douglas Shaw
      ... From: Kimball Garrett To: calbirds@yahoogroups.com Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2004 11:35 AM Subject: RE: [CALBIRDS] birdwatchers are the worst Hi All,
      Message 2 of 10 , Nov 16, 2004
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        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Kimball Garrett
        To: calbirds@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2004 11:35 AM
        Subject: RE: [CALBIRDS] "birdwatchers are the worst"



        Hi All,

        Back in my college days I studied Environmental Interpretation as my main subject within my major of Recreation Administration. I am shocked that anyone in that field would make the type of comments that Tracy made. I hope her supervisor sees the article and straightens her out. Any good Interpretive Specialist should realize that the worst offenders to wildlife are dog walkers ( particulary those unleashed dogs in sensative habitats ) and the owners don't give a hoot when you try to explain to them the consequences of their actions. Mountain bikers on illegal and closed trails are also a major problem. I have many civil words with such people and I only get a favorable response about 30% of the time.
        Environmental Interpreters and planners are trained about the various user groups and how to keep them all happy. Many compromises need to be made such as right-a-way on trails between hikers, horses, and bicycles. A pair of binoculars should be a lot less frightening to a " wren " than the other types of trail users. I can see where a spotting scope might scare some waterfowl thinking it is a gun.
        There is an excellent textbook by Sharpe on environmental Interpretation that would be good reading for Tracy. She definitely needs a lesson in Public Relations. Maybe one of the local Audubon Chapters could send a letter of protest to her supervisor?
        Sincerely,
        Doug Shaw
        Santa Rosa, CA



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      • Chuck & Lillian
        Tamas, I have experienced looking around thru binos and coming upon a bird watching me and which then immediately flies off. It s primarily with raptors such
        Message 3 of 10 , Nov 16, 2004
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          Tamas,
          I have experienced looking around thru binos and coming upon a bird watching me and which then immediately flies off. It's primarily with raptors such as Cooper's or Sharp-shinned Hawk. I think they don't like being looked at, but I don't think they're going off to die in privacy of an apoplectic fit. Just moving elsewhere, often not very far. Crows, jays and Mockingbirds seem to welcome the challenge, and sometimes stare right back, looking far more intimidating than I ever will. Smaller passerines - in my recollection - mostly can't care less about me as long as I don't make any sudden moves towards them. But in any group of otherwise similar organisms, including and especially people, some are always more jumpy than others.
          So, generally speaking, the comment was mostly inaccurate and probably intended to irritate birders or at least poke them with a gentle, joshing finger in the ribs, ho ho ho, and also to amuse and misinform the mostly ignorant wider public.
          Chuck Almdale
          Santa Monica, CA
          misclists@...
          *************************
          At 12:59 PM 11/16/2004 -0600, Thomas Miko wrote:
          > Well, at least that's what today's Los Angeles Times informed me of on page F3 of the outdoors section, at the end of an article about how Palm Springs area governmental agencies seek to reduce the number of hikers on trails during Bighorn Sheeps' breeding season. The last sentence of the article explained how "tiny little wrens" are terrified by binocular lenses that they think are the eyes of a monstrously oversized predator, so we birders are scaring the pants off of those poor little birdies.
          >Discuss.

          ----------


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        • Nathaniel Wander
          People who live in optical housings shouldn t throw stones. While the binoculars = big eyes explanation may be a lot of hooey, we all know that just turning
          Message 4 of 10 , Nov 16, 2004
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            People who live in optical housings shouldn't throw stones.

            While the "binoculars = big eyes" explanation may be a lot of hooey, we all
            know that just turning towards a bird, let alone looking at it intensely
            can disturb it. Of course, it all depends on the species, habitat, season,
            bird's activity at the time, etc., etc., etc.

            And while we are hardly "the worst," its flat out dishonest to pretend that
            our "hunting" and "staring" has no impact on birds at all, let alone that,
            it might not seriously compromise an already overstressed creature. Like
            when some poor off-course vagrant is "pounded" by every chaser in a
            thousand-mile radius.

            While most birders I know seem to be trying to behave as decently as
            possible, neither is any of us necessarily more immune to the close-minded
            selfishness some attribute to dog owners. Remember the eye-motes and
            eye-beams.

            Nathaniel Wander
            San Francisco
          • Douglas Shaw
            ... From: Nathaniel Wander To: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2004 12:36 PM Subject: [CALBIRDS] RE: birdwatchers are the worst Hi,
            Message 5 of 10 , Nov 16, 2004
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              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Nathaniel Wander
              To: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2004 12:36 PM
              Subject: [CALBIRDS] RE: "birdwatchers are the worst"

              Hi,

              Please see ittalized comments below.


              People who live in optical housings shouldn't throw stones.

              While the "binoculars = big eyes" explanation may be a lot of hooey, we all
              know that just turning towards a bird, let alone looking at it intensely
              can disturb it. Of course, it all depends on the species, habitat, season,
              bird's activity at the time, etc., etc., etc.
              Researchers use binoculars, scopes, band birds, and invade their nests. All of these activities benefit the birds in the long run.


              And while we are hardly "the worst," its flat out dishonest to pretend that
              our "hunting" and "staring" has no impact on birds at all, let alone that,
              it might not seriously compromise an already overstressed creature. Like
              when some poor off-course vagrant is "pounded" by every chaser in a
              thousand-mile radius.

              I hope most birders are aware of birding ethics. Unforunately there have been major exceptions that is another topic.

              While most birders I know seem to be trying to behave as decently as
              possible, neither is any of us necessarily more immune to the close-minded
              selfishness some attribute to dog owners. Remember the eye-motes and
              eye-beams.

              How about the dog owners in San Francisco that encourage their dogs to run in the marsh lands at Crissy Field ? Correct me if I have the location wrong. I read several posts in recent years about those dog owners in SF.

              Doug Shaw
              Santa Rosa, CA




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            • Steve Sosensky
              Okay, CalBirders, Before this becomes a flame war, I m closing the thread. The effects of birding and birders on birds is not strictly a California issue, and
              Message 6 of 10 , Nov 16, 2004
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                Okay, CalBirders,

                Before this becomes a flame war, I'm closing the thread. The effects of
                birding and birders on birds is not strictly a California issue, and is
                more suited to BirdChat if that list will tolerate it. For those of you who
                feel strongly on this issue, I suggest writing to the LA Times Outdoors
                section <mailto:outdoors@...> and Tracy Albrecht's supervisors.

                At 01:17 PM 2004-11-16 -0800, Douglas Shaw wrote:


                > ----- Original Message -----
                > From: Nathaniel Wander
                > To: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com
                > Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2004 12:36 PM
                > Subject: [CALBIRDS] RE: "birdwatchers are the worst"
                >
                > Hi,
                >
                > Please see ittalized comments below.
                >
                >
                >

                Good birding,
                Steve Sosensky
                Toluca Lake, CA 34.15645 N, 118.36715 W
                <mailto:steve@...> for general use
                <mailto:mobile@...> for rare birds and emergencies only
                Co-listowner, Calbirds http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Calbirds

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              • MiriamEagl@aol.com
                Hi, all! In a message dated 11/16/2004 11:58:45 AM Pacific Standard Time, kgarrett@nhm.org writes: Second, I am not aware of any behavioral studies that
                Message 7 of 10 , Nov 17, 2004
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                  Hi, all!

                  In a message dated 11/16/2004 11:58:45 AM Pacific Standard Time,
                  kgarrett@... writes:

                  Second, I am not aware of any behavioral studies that support the absurd
                  suggestion that birders terrify wrens (etc.) by looking at them through
                  binoculars. Sometimes we birders are tempted to believe that binoculars
                  scare birds because birds sometimes fly off as soon as we get them in
                  our bins.


                  Maybe this has been addressed already, but a guide on a tour to Venezuela
                  (who was using a Questar) says that sometimes the sun will reflect in the lens
                  and flash in such a way that it startles the bird, so I wouldn't be surprised
                  if that's what happens a lot (but I wouldn't think that qualifies as "scaring
                  the pants" off the birds).

                  Mary Beth Stowe
                  San Diego, CA
                  MiriamEagl@...
                  _www.miriameaglemon.com_ (http://www.miriameaglemon.com)




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                • Steve Sosensky
                  Calbirders, This thread is still closed. Anyone posting to it will be set to moderated status. It is always best to read a thread through before responding to
                  Message 8 of 10 , Nov 17, 2004
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                    Calbirders,

                    This thread is still closed. Anyone posting to it will be set to moderated
                    status. It is always best to read a thread through before responding to it.
                    This eliminates the potential for increased duplication of responses, or as
                    in this case, posting to a closed thread.

                    At 10:11 am 2004-11-17 -0500, miriameagl@... wrote:
                    maybe this has been addressed already,



                    Good birding,
                    Steve Sosensky
                    Toluca Lake, CA 34.15645 N, 118.36715 W
                    <mailto:steve@...> for general use
                    <mailto:mobile@...> for rare birds and emergencies only
                    co-listowner, calbirds http://groups.yahoo.com/group/calbirds

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