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Re: [CALBIRDS] The Elitist

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  • Lilith Mageborn
    Well. This thread has reinforced my belief that every group is a microcosm of society at large, much as all members would like our group to be perfect and
    Message 1 of 15 , Oct 4, 2007
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      Well. This thread has reinforced my belief that every group is a
      microcosm of society at large, much as all members would like "our group"
      to be perfect and free of perceived societal flaws. If any group could be
      flawless, we'd see a miraculous walking on water, en masse, picking up
      Bar-Tailed Godwits and oystercatchers, or a parting of the Pacific Ocean
      in search of certain terns, gulls and albatrosses. ;-)

      For my part, my irregular hours as a 1099 contract worker working several
      jobs and raising a teenager single-handedly enforces time and financial
      constraints (not to mention being perpetually exhausted) precludes me
      from chasing after confirmed or unconfirmed rarities unless they're local
      (as was the case with that Red-Faced Warbler in 9/05), but I thoroughly
      enjoy reading such posts and the discussions in trying to pin down this
      or that bird's ID because I learn from such discussions and because I'm
      equally analytical. Well, I'm a proofreader and an editor: I have to be
      nit-picky!

      Elitism? I see where Doug Aguillard is coming from, but I also get the
      impression that the people who post possible or confirmed rarities are
      the truly hard-core birders. Maybe I'm wrong about that (Lord knows I've
      been wrong plenty of times before), but you know, if a possibility is
      posted in Area XYZ, whether that area is accessible or not, then I'd
      think it would alert us to the **possibility** of a Rara Avis lurking in
      the general locality; it would then encourage us to keep our eyes open
      for said possibility.

      So -- post away, I say!

      Just my scraped-together two cents' worth.

      Sue Jorgenson
      260 life birds +/-
      Anaheim, CA



      On Thu, 04 Oct 2007 10:46:20 -0700 "Steve Hampton"
      <shampton@...> writes:
      > I think the way to get into any so-called "inner circle" in any
      > region is to get out there, meet people, be friendly, and, most
      > importantly, explore new areas and find your own rarities.
      >
      > Not everyone shares birds in a timely fashion, and not every bird is
      > found in a publically-accessible place. That's just the way it is.
      > Let it go and find your own-- it's MUCH more satisfying.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Steve Hampton
      > ________________
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      > Office of Spill Prevention and Response
      > California Dept of Fish and Game
      > PO Box 944209
      > Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
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    • surteesdn@aol.com
      In a message dated 10/4/07 10:12:06 PM Pacific Daylight Time, ... And that s the most cogent reason for posting all suspected rarities -- if the area the bird
      Message 2 of 15 , Oct 5, 2007
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        In a message dated 10/4/07 10:12:06 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
        lilithm3@... writes:

        > if a possibility is
        > posted in Area XYZ, whether that area is accessible or not, then I'd
        > think it would alert us to the **possibility** of a Rara Avis lurking in
        > the general locality; it would then encourage us to keep our eyes open
        > for said possibility.
        >
        > So -- post away, I say!
        >
        And that's the most cogent reason for posting all suspected rarities
        -- if the area the bird was in is sensitive, say so and caution birders of any
        restrictions. Don't just keep it for your 'birding buddies'. That's rude!

        Dave Surtees
        Hollywood
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      • Floyd Hayes
        I think we all owe a debt of gratitude to the elitists for exploring and discovering new hotspots, finding so many rarities that we often see with relative
        Message 3 of 15 , Oct 5, 2007
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          I think we all owe a debt of gratitude to the elitists
          for exploring and discovering new hotspots, finding so
          many rarities that we often see with relative ease,
          and teaching us about the finer points of
          distribution, seasonality and identification of birds
          in California.

          Floyd Hayes
          Hidden Valley Lake, CA


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        • Lilith Mageborn
          This is why I see both sides of the issue. We DO owe that debt of gratitude to the truly dedicated birders. If not for them, I wouldn t have Lentz s Birds of
          Message 4 of 15 , Oct 5, 2007
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            This is why I see both sides of the issue. We DO owe that debt of
            gratitude to the truly dedicated birders.

            If not for them, I wouldn't have Lentz's Birds of the Southern California
            Coast or Schram's A Birder's Guide to Southern California, or Kempton's
            Birding Northern California (or Anza-Borrego, Salton Sea, OC Breeding
            Atlas, Ocean Birds of the Nearshore Pacific, and the list goes on and on
            and on).

            Well, however the issue resolves itself, I will continue to read and
            learn from the posts and keep my eyes open when I travel on business
            throughout California, knowing that a suspected or confirmed rarity has
            been seen here, or there. For isn't it said that "fortune favors the
            prepared"? :-)

            Sue Jorgenson
            Anaheim, CA

            On Fri, 5 Oct 2007 09:42:45 -0700 (PDT) Floyd Hayes
            <floyd_hayes@...> writes:
            > I think we all owe a debt of gratitude to the elitists
            > for exploring and discovering new hotspots, finding so
            > many rarities that we often see with relative ease,
            > and teaching us about the finer points of
            > distribution, seasonality and identification of birds
            > in California.
            >
            > Floyd Hayes
            > Hidden Valley Lake, CA
            >
            >
            >
            >
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          • John Puschock
            There s been a couple things stated in this thread that have bothered me, so here are my thoughts: 1) A lifelist is a poor measure of birding skill. Don t
            Message 5 of 15 , Oct 5, 2007
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              There's been a couple things stated in this thread that have bothered me, so here are my thoughts:

              1) A lifelist is a poor measure of birding skill. Don't label yourself based on that number. I've found that the larger geographic area a list covers, the more it is a measure of financial resources and time rather than birding skill. I'm usually immediately impressed by someone with a large county or state list, but I reserve judgment for someone with a large ABA Area or world list until I see them in action.

              2) An elite birder is not the same thing as an elitist. Just because you're one of those doesn't automatically make you the other.

              For the record, I'm in favor of "Elite Inner Circles" when I'm on the inside but against them when I'm not. :) Unfortunately, I'm generally not.

              Anyway, I agree with one of Doug's basic points: if you take from the list, you should also give back when appropriate. Also, I think it's better to report a potential rarity rather than wait for confirmation, but chaser beware. If you can't do the time (i.e., miss a bird or find out the ID was incorrect), don't do the crime (i.e., chase).

              John Puschock
              San Diego, CA
              g_g_allin@...

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            • scre@aol.com
              I didn t want to get sucked into this but there are a few points that I wanted to make. I don t feel that there is elitism among California s birders. What I
              Message 6 of 15 , Oct 5, 2007
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                I didn't want to get sucked into this but there are a few points that I
                wanted
                to make. I don't feel that there is elitism among California's birders.
                What
                I do find is, a point already made by several others, that people who
                actively
                bird and document their sightings tend to bump into each other and become
                friends. As time passes you come to know and trust these people and report
                birds to them. You're not keeping others out because you are an elitist but
                because you don't know everyone on these listserves and don't know what they
                might do when you report a bird. As much as we might like to think that
                birders represent an atypical slice of the general population, not all
                birders
                act according to what the majority of us think of as common and decent
                behavior. Plenty of people have reported birds on private property only to
                have hordes of birders come out and act in a disrespectful manner to the
                landowners resulting in that spot being closed for everyone. This has
                happened many times at several different places throughout the state. I
                have
                even heard stories of birders trespassing where people had permission to do
                bird surveys, even onto military land (quite the federal offense!).

                This type of behavior jeopardizes birding these spots in the future for those
                who have worked hard at getting access and keeping it, just because a few
                people who read it on a listerve decide to ruin it for everyone. By telling
                a
                few friends, you are allowing a few people who have proven to be trustworthy
                to
                see a bird and to help in documenting it. Is this really elitism? I just
                can't see being upset about a bird that is found on private property or a
                military base and not getting a chance to see it. It seems even more
                ridiculous to call it elitism when someone does get to see it because either
                a) they have worked to get access or b) they have proven to a friend with
                access that they will enter in a responsible manner.

                As much as we'd like to say that we don't judge if someone makes a mistake,
                there are plenty who do and end up harassing an individual because of a
                mistake. This happens even to birders of Mike San Miguel's caliber, so it
                ends up becoming a damned if you do damned if you don't situation. People
                will be pissed that they chased a bird that might have been misided or, as in
                this case, they will be pissed that it wasn't reported.

                Another reason not to post is because of sensitive habitat. As much as
                we'd like to think that we are all conservationists and won't destroy the
                habitat when chasing birds, it does happen. When a mega is found in a small
                area that suddenly gets 50 people, they are going to have an impact.
                Sometimes the bird and the habitat are more important than a few people
                getting to tick it off.

                As for those on this listserve it seems that all those who actively
                bird do report birds here when it is appropriate to do so. I have read plenty
                of reports from Mike San Miguel and others on the birds they have found, who
                may not report birds at times because of the above reasons. No one is
                obligated to post something here just because they read the messages
                (otherwise the majority of this listserve would have to be kicked off). People
                are gracious in their willingness to share information when appropriate,
                however, sometimes a person has to choose to not share that information with
                everyone. Good birding everyone.

                David Vander Pluym
                Ventura, Ca



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