[CALBIRDS] Re: The Elitist
- I didn't want to get sucked into this but there are a few points that I
to make. I don't feel that there is elitism among California's birders.
I do find is, a point already made by several others, that people who
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
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
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
few friends, you are allowing a few people who have proven to be trustworthy
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
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