Re: Birding Ethics and Tape Playback

David Webster

Some really great points, Jim!  I'm glad you broached this subject. I live adjacent to the Presidio, and though I'm a new 'bird observer'(since the pandemic) and now consider myself 'obsessed' with all things birds, I get the etiquette part, and All your other observations. Respect.   Thanks,  for putting this out there!

David Webster 

On Sun, Sep 12, 2021, 4:09 PM Jim Chiropolos <jnc@...> wrote:

I birded dragonfly creek today to look for the thrasher. As i walked dow, I asked another birder if they had seen it and they told me “No but the birding was very distracting, as another birder was cranking thrasher calls on top volume in a continuous cycle.” I walked down the trail and sure enough, tape playback was fully cranked.”

I told the birder that tape playback was not really useful to find the bird and they told me no one could tell them not to use tape playback and who in the hell was I to tell them anything.”The birder then left.

Lets remember birding ethics out here - my guess is this was a starting birder who does not understand the impact of using tape playback.

1. First - tape playback is considered stressful for birds. Google Sibley on the use of tape playback and he has a thoughtful discussion of the use of playback.
2.Overuse of tape playback may cause the thrasher to leave this area.
3. Many birders consider the use of playback offensive, if other birders are present, please ask them before you use it!
4. For a target bird in an area, this bird will be called out because people are doing this. Watch how good guides use it on birding trips - very judiciously and not on loops or high volumne.
5. To find a skulker, you need to here it first. You lose your hearing cranking playback.
6. By using playback in the presence of others, you are losing your best tool - other birders - good birders will not stay in your presence because they cannot here birds and sadly, if I see the bird and you are cranking playback, I will probably not call you over and normally, I like getting people on birds and a lot of people have seen lifers or county birds with me - thats fun!

Later on - we did see the thrasher - no playback needed - and how did we see it - we heard it first.

Anyways, remember birding ethics and consider the impact   Of your behavior on the birds - they have it really tough these days! 

Good birding!
And no need for anyone to pile on this post.

Jim Chiropolos

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