Joe makes call resulting in a few Sorea reactions------Re: [Tweeters] re: Ipods

Bob Flores rflores_2 at
Sun Nov 28 08:43:37 PST 2010

Hi Dan,

I wish I could with authority answer with better accuracy on how much stress is placed on the birds that are caught or altering their normal daily movements just to be studied. I think we know there is SOME stress with these activities. I do know researchers as a community do control their activities, at least in the USA, when it comes to working with birds. They do it through a permitting process where the proposed actions to be taken are looked at and altered depending on the specifics to meet a more generalized framework. Is it perfect I doubt it do I agree with all I have seen NO!

No perfect answer eh?

Bob Flores

From: notcalm at
Sent: Sunday, November 28, 2010 2:03 AM
To: Bob Flores
Cc: Tweeters
Subject: Joe makes call resulting in a few Sorea reactions------Re: [Tweeters] re: Ipods

Thanks Bob, for your post.

I don't have strong feelings about this topic either way. Calling birds is not an important element of my experience. I do believe the WOS guidelines are nicely done- subjective, understandable and reasonable. I also believe that this is an important discussion to have within the community. I thank Joe M. for nicely providing a thought- provoking question about this issue. I certainly want to hear the opinions of many others in the field, including the scientists, master birders, WOS, the British, Canadians, photographers with economically short and abnormally long lenses, scope only users, those that believe we should use no instruments of magnification, people that feed birds, people that believe bird feeders should not be used and any other group that has an interest in birds and this topic in specific. I valve all opinions. Perhaps you can further the dialog by providing your opinions on where the thresholds are for appropriate and inappropriate behavior. An essence and examples may be useful. It would certainly help me form and advance my thoughts on this complex matter.

Also, I have sometimes heard truisms similar to: "recordings that drain wildlife of their reserves and prevent them from a normal breeding season". Forgive me for asking, because this may be widely known to others: is there research demonstrating that biologists, researchers, bird-banders, ornithologists, photographers or others using callers, capture or other methods to attract birds for closer study, have done damage, drained the birds of critical energy stores or emotionally stressed birds to a point of measurable impact as a result of responding to such stimuli? If so, I certainly want to read them.

Joe, I have to say that your question, inadvertently, was "call" like- it appears to have caused great emotional arousal in some and judging by their reactions, substantial energy expenditures. Perhaps even resulting in eating less or no Turkey during the holidays. Some may be so upset that it may interfere with their usual breeding behavior this holiday season.

Perhaps this discussion is a little like that of the Supreme court justice that said, and I paraphrase: I can't precisely define what pornography is but I know it when I see it.

If someone is harassing a bird, I may discuss my concern with them, hopefully in a thoughtful, useful and friendly way. However, I do understand that their threshold for perceived bird harassment may be different than mine.

I was absolutely awestruck by the recent Audubon Magazine article regarding President Roosevelt and his successful efforts to stop "market and slob hunting" on a national scale. I feel fortunate indeed to benefit from these efforts. I would highly recommend reading this article. It occurs to me that we, as a nation have moved from decimating entire species of birds for fun and profit (market hunting of Passenger Pigeons and Eskimo Curlews and to a lesser degree Golden Plovers and anything else), shooting and poisoning birds as vermin, shooting birds for "fun", killing birds for private collections, killing birds for hat plumage, killing birds for models for paintings a friendly, nuanced discussion about how best to observe and study them with minimal impact. We have come a long way.

My hope is that as a common value, we all learn together as a group, freely share and respect the opinions of others and grow as a community to benefit the birds . I believe that we all want to enjoy and hope to protect all remaining birds. After all, this is not politics or religion.

I look forward to reading the Tweeters posts each day. What a great resource of and for people who have a passion for birds and the wonderful environs that we share and wish to retain and restore.

With best regards and respect to all, and hopefully a little humor,
Dan Reiff
Mercer island

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bob Flores" <rflores_2 at>
To: "Scott Downes" <downess at>, tweeters at
Sent: Saturday, November 27, 2010 5:02:54 PM
Subject: Re: [Tweeters] re: Ipods


This subject is one the staff at Ridgefield NWR have been engaged in for about a year. We feel the day may be coming soon when we enact a Refuge Regulation banning recording devices used to play bird vocalizations. Our major concern is not so much bird watchers as photographers and the accumulative effects of both groups. We have waited to see if the photographer community can police their own. We have seen them begin down that road and are waiting to see what happens. The bottom line is there are laws already against actions that disturb wildlife and their daily functions. Playing a recording over and over to get a look or photo of a sora is really what the laws were designed to prevent but when enacted never considered the futuristic use of recordings that drain wildlife of their reserves and prevent them from a normal breeding season. Time will tell but we are dealing with the human race?

Bob Flores
Project Leader
Ridgefield, Stiegerwald, Franz lake and Pierce National Wildlife Refuges

From: Scott Downes
Sent: Saturday, November 27, 2010 4:34 PM
To: tweeters at
Subject: [Tweeters] re: Ipods

I'll be brief on this issue, but since many Tweeters subscribers are also WOS members, want to comment from the perspective of the WOS board. This is a delicate issue and many viewpoints abound. In general the ABA code of ethics sum up things well and I think many of the scientific points raised by Wayne can apply. WOS had been in discussion on this very issue as WOS serves both listers and conversationists and the WOS board does not believe that the two camps must be mutually exclusive. I believe future WOS Newsletters will expand on this issue as we continue to work it out. Recently members of the WOS board (myself, Dan Stephens and Jack Stephens) met with USFS and USFWS reps on this subject. As Wayne stated, limited use of an Ipod (or any other recording playback device-I don't work for Apple.... :) ) does not in general cause large scale harm to a bird lives. However, stress to birds can increase during the breeding season when using playback and there are rules that govern calling listed species such as Spotted Owl without permits. So, I think you'll find that WOS will come out with some form of policy advocating to its members that recommend use of an Ipod in the spirit of the ABA code of ethics which asks birders to use playback in limited doses, especially in heavily birded area, during the nesting season or any other areas you believe would cause undue harm to the bird. Undue harm is difficult to define and many people will have their own opinions. As responses have indicated its a touchy subject and often clouded with personal beliefs on how different people view birding (some are passive observers while others are very active pursuers and many are in-between).

Just wanted to give some heads up that the WOS board has been trying to tackle this subject and has been brainstorming items which might even include a discussion on birding ethics at some future members meeting.

Scott Downes
downess at
Yakima WA


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