To post or not to post

Korpi, Ray RKorpi at
Wed Mar 6 12:12:23 PST 2002

This has been quite the excellent discussion. I think when it comes down to
it, to my mind, several people have been correct in their actions:
--Rachel Lawson was correct for not posting the sighting but working with
the folks to obtain proof of it--I have known other cases where health
matters like those described have kept folks from wanting to open their
houses, and similar documentation procedures have occurred.
--Gene Hunn (if I'm reading the thread correctly) was correct in posting his
independent finding of the bird (how is he to know the conversations that
have gone on?).
--Others are within their right to look for the bird in a legal and
courteous manner on public property (I'll admit at this point, I would
choose not to, but I also don't twitch as much as I used to either).
--I too have been hugely frustrated by those birders who break the law
(let's face it, that's what it is) to see a rarity, get access to some area
on a CBC, or some other reason. When a bird like the Great Gray has been
posted, after some effort was made to keep it quiet, people need to at least
understand why the efforts were made, which has occurred in both cases being

I also understand the Blaine eagle question. A similar situation has
cropped up in Oregon with a Peregrine nest at a certain well-known tourist
spot. People do not want the location of the nest put out over the
Internet, but if you go to the site when the nest is being monitored by
volunteers, you can look to see where it is. And just as a matter of time,
many people know where the nest is (indeed, it's a stakeout place for this
species on Portland Audubon's Birdathon). People are worried about the nest
being poached, so many will not post its location, but by word of mouth and
other means, anyone can find out where it is, just as in the Blaine eagle
nest case.

I think several of Gene Hunn's points elaborate on the subtle differences
between legal and moral/ethical. One thing I find doing is reflecting on my
actions in similar cases and deciding where lines are drawn for me on these
questions. It is nice, on this rainy day right before my most active
birding season starts, to reflect on these posts and thoughts. My thanks to
all who have contributed

Ray Korpi, PhD
Director, Hawkins Computer Lab
Clark College
Vancouver WA

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