Iceland Gull and ethical birding

Steven Kimball sdkimball at
Sat Jan 22 11:07:43 PST 2000

Dear Tweeters and Dr. Paulson,

I was going to let this issue die, but the postings on this subject have
become increasingly gratuitous so I would like to refer everyone to that
part of Dr. Paulson's post to which I responded initially:

"It's too bad that it's injured and can't fly. If it was any other species,
I would have made an attempt to capture it and get it to a bird rehabber
(Olympic Wildlife Rescue in Olympia would be the best one), but I thought a
whole lot of birders would be robbed of their chance to see such a
beautiful bird (and I might get run out of town on a rail)."

And here was my response:

"I was appalled that the injured bird was left there
merely because some birder might want to add it to his/her
list. As to nature taking it's course, Dr. Paulson states that he would
have taken any other bird to wildlife rehab, but that he didn't take this
one because someone might get angry at not getting to see it. So, the
injured gull was left to suffer and die, not because nature must be allowed
to take its course but because humane instincts apparently succumbed to
anticipated "lister anger." It's birding as sport, not nature, that's
having it's way in this case."

Now Dr. Paulson has since responded indicating that the above was a joke (!)
and that actually he chose not to capture the birds for reasons
substantially different than those in his original post. However, I, as a
reader of this list, unfortunately, can not divine reasons which people
chose not to include in their posts and must respond to what they actually
write. Thus, it was the POSITION EXPRESSED in Dr. Paulson's message that I
responded to and I haven't heard a refutation in response. My position was
and is: It is immoral not to help a creature that is injured and suffering
(read : "in pain") merely because some other birder might wish to add it to
their list.

As to accusations that such concerns are moralistic and out of place on this
list, my response is that such concerns are ethical and where better to
discuss just what ethical birding is than on a list that is supposed to be
about birding?


Steven Kimball
Federal Way, WA
sdkimball at

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