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[CVBirds] Re: Birding Ethics

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  • Mike Feighner
    Central Valley Birders, CALBIRDERS: Some of you will get this twice; some just once. I am sending this to CALBIRD as well as I feel the larger audience needs
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 1, 2000
      Central Valley Birders, CALBIRDERS:

      Some of you will get this twice; some just once. I am sending this to
      CALBIRD as well as I feel the larger audience needs to see David Yee's
      needed comments. Much has been sent by the small handful of birders who
      have successfully seen the Smew. Those like me nearly saw the Smew on
      Saturday, 1-29-2000, but missed it entirely (more than once!) as the
      bird was flushed to another area. After 5 days of patient searching I
      was so totally frustrated by this difficult Smew that I pulled up stakes
      on 1-30-2000 at 1 PM and moved onto Sacramento County to search for the
      reported Barrow's Goldeneyes below Nimbus Dam only to find that they had
      been replaced by Common Goldeneyes. The Smew was finally seen again on
      1-30-2000 but not until after 3 PM. I had feared that all of this
      flushing, whether intentional or not, had ruined all hopes of refinding
      the Smew.

      On a side note, I was in Rancho Mirage in Riverside County on 12-31-1999
      and contemplated what great birds would be nice to see in the year
      2000. There was only one I could think of, and it was a Smew. I
      thought it was about time for one to show up in California again, and
      three weeks later one showed up in Tracy just 25 miles from home. And,
      by the way, it's about time for a Snowy Owl to show up in California
      again too.
      Mike Feighner, Livermore, CA, pac_loon@...

      David Yee wrote:

      > Dear Birders:
      > I hate to bring up the issue of birding ethics, but I've been
      > requested by several birders to bring it up, and feel so inclined to
      > make a comment. While I've personally have heard no negative feedback
      > concerning trespassing by birders when looking for the Smew in SJ,
      > I've heard various negative comments concerning "overly disturbing"
      > the bird. Several messages on the NCAL RBA, as well as conversations
      > with birders who have either looked for the bird or are planning to
      > look for the bird have mentioned "repeated flushing" of the Smew had
      > occurred. Most of this was unintentional, but on several occasions it
      > appeared that the Smew was intentionally flushed with the hopes it
      > would fly towards the bridge or areas where birders were congregated.
      > Intentional flushing the bird, no matter how well intended, is
      > definitely not good for the bird, nor birders. By all accounts it
      > appears the bird is becoming harder to locate near accessible areas,
      > and this may be due to the repeated flushings. Obvoiusly there is
      > nothing one can do if you initially stumble across the bird, startle
      > it, and it flushes off. However, it is now well documented that the
      > bird is extremely skittish, and doesn't allow anyone to approach
      > closer than about 100 yards. Knowing this, I would encourage birders
      > who are making plans to see the bird to be satisfied with distant
      > observations.
      > Again, sorry to bring up this very touchy subject, and thanks for
      > being understanding on the matter. I am personally pointing a finger
      > at no one, and send this message to myself before anyone else.
      > Good birding,
      > David Yee
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