My 2 cents on birds and secrecy.

Arie Gilbert arie1 at
Fri Mar 8 06:48:35 PST 2002

Talk about a lively topic of discussion!

The easy answer to the topic of keeping secrets is, there is no easy
answer. When someone decides that they don't want strangers flocking to
their home, for ~any~ reason, that is the way it is.

Yes, people can be selfish and petty, and often exaggerated in their
concerns, but from a dispassioned point of view, their property rights
supercede our desires { notice, I did not say rights, we don't really
have them vis a vis disturbing, inconveniencing, etc whether real or

In my experience, I have been "let in" on a few secrets, and left out of
quite more others. Never thought it was fair, but I have found that the
more people I get to know, the more stuff I find out about. Most people
~want~ to share info, but what do you do when you are given information
in confidence? Simple, you wait until the person asking you wears you
down with begging and pleading, and then swear ~them~ to secrecy! <ggg>
You will find that most secrets are diseminated this way.

My suggestion to my fellow birders is to be an "ambassador" when ever
possible. Even if 5 thousand people have gone to see a bird a someone's
home, don't pass up the opportunity to be friendly with the hosts, and
leave them with a positive feeling about birders!

I have gone up to Hosts to personally thank them for the opportunity,
and find that sometimes they know very little about the bird that is
causing all the fuss. I take out my books, show them pictures, and try
to put the significance of the sighting into perspective so that they
feel good about sharing it. I also offer to send them copies of any
photos I take. I have had a few homeowners intimate that at first they
were not sure they wanted to host a bird event, but the positive
interaction with birders has changed their mind.

This is much more than giving them money, and I feel that money can
backfire on birders.

For those of you who feel slighted by not being on the A list, join the
club. Understand that those who are saddled with the responsibility of
whether or how to divulge the info, it only takes one jerk to poison
their mind against giving out info. One such individual told me the
story of birders who kept knocking on the homeowner's door so that they
could use the bathroom. may not sound like much but it may have ruined
things for those not lucky enough to have been ther sooner rather than

My suggestion is that "suggested behaviors" such as those proposed by
the ABA, are appended to reports of concern, and that they be repeated
on all updates. Additionally, they sould be posted whenever remotely
necessary, so that they are ~familiar~ when they become absolutely

my 2 cents.
Arie Gilbert
Beechhurst, NY
arie1 at

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