Re: [OrangeCountyBirding] An Ethical Dilemma - Calling In Birds
- I hit reply, but meant to hit reply all.
That's an amazing shot you got. I know how exciting it can be to score
amazing shots!! :-)
The subject of to call or not to call is a good one too.
Especially as nesting season nears. Raptors in particular tend to nest
earlier than other birds.
Your Hawk doesn't look like an adult, so probably no worry there, but
calling a bird could call it away from nest and eggs.
So it's good you put the subject out there. Just something we should all
think about around this time of year.
On Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 5:45 PM, chris_morrison1
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> Today, I paid a lunchtime visit to Mason Regional Park. I caught a glimpse
> of a Cooper's Hawk flying from tree to tree. I followed it and it moved
> again out of view....but I heard it call. "Ah", I said to myself. "I have
> iBird Pro on my phone. I can call back", so I did. The hawk returned my
> call. I played the call again and it repeated. It then flew through the
> clearing that I was standing in. One last call had it return to a perch
> above me and my camera. I was in heaven. I nearly filled my memory card
> shooting image after image, all while listening to the hawk call again and
> again. Of course, I stopped the playback of my call when he came into view,
> but it called and called for nearly 40 minutes. I started to feel bad. I
> wondered if I has somehow disrupted its foraging for food or a mate? I
> started to wonder if I had done something wrong.
> With the advent of mobile apps and the ability to play calls for
> identification and for drawing birds in, what is the right thing to do
> here? Of course we all know not to abuse such a power, but how much is too
> much. Any? I think it's an important question to ask. I'd appreciate any
> Below is a link that magnificent Cooper's Hawk who shared my lunch hour
> with me.
> Chris Morrison
> Orange, CA
- My personal opinion: I use audio recordings to check my guesses about bird
song ID. E.g. if I'm not sure that a song I just heard is a Savannah
Sparrow or not, I'll play the song on my phone so I can check, but I don't
use speakers, play it more than once or twice, and I don't try to call the
bird in. If I know what the song is I don't play it at all.
While it seems likely that 90+% "taping" attempts have no negative effects
on the bird whatsoever, that 's not nearly good enough. 1% risk, even 0.1%
is too much for me to sanction for no good reason. Some small percentage of
tapings do have negative effects on a bird, and it's not always easy to
tell which ones will advance. For example, an NYC Audubon trip once
attempted to call in a Great Horned Owl immediately after calling in a
Screech Owl. Great Horned Owls eat Screech Owls. I've also seen a Kestrel
go after a Pygmy Owl that was disturbed by a trip leader so the group could
I would prefer taping to be strictly limited to scientific and conservation
purposes: e.g. bird counts, environmental impact surveys, and breeding bird
surveys. Recreational birding and photography should not take the risk of
using audio recordings to call in birds. I don't tape birds when I'm in the
field by myself, and I don't allow taping on trips I lead.
Elliotte Rusty Harold
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