[Tweeters] Re: Brewster Hawk Owl RIP

Bob Pearson rrpearson at centurytel.net
Sun Jan 10 17:31:26 PST 2016

Hi Tweeters-

Sad about the Hawk Owl if it indeed was killed.

I don't have the listers desire to witness every bird species, although I
can see the challenge and fun of it. I've spent thousands of hours observing
owls locally but I don't need to go and see a Snowy Owl that I've never seen
before. It's enough to know it's there. That's context for my point of view.

Take out the righteous indignation of the birders who are doing nothing
illegal and the antagonistic attitude of the land owner and what is left is
a situation that is potentially detrimental to the owl. I would suggest that
the thing to do is recognize the situation and let the owl be. Birders may
be correct in asserting their legal rights but what difference does that
make if the owl ends up dead? Prosecuting the land owner may be the proper
avenue to pursue but it won't bring the owl back.

In these kinds of situations the first consideration should be toward the
owl and the risks that simple viewing may have as an unintentional effect.
Defuse a bad situation before it has the chance to happen. There is some
irony in the idea that viewing a rare bird may make it even more rare. And
anyway, not seeing the owl means that it remains a tantalizing challenge
waiting for another opportunity, hopefully a less consequential one, to

Birders by nature are a patient lot. Bypassing even a once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity to view a rare bird if it may also endanger the bird is a
graceful form of patience.

Bob Pearson
Packwood, WA.

Hi Roger and Tweeters,

In other circumstances, retrieving the carcass for one of the museum
collections would be a good idea, as long as retrieval is compliant with
federal and state wildlife laws. However, in this instance, the carcass may
be evidence of a crime and should only be retrieved by wildlife law
enforcement officers so that a chain of custody can be preserved for a
possible prosecution.

Enjoying wildlife from a public road, as long as egress or any traffic law
is not obstructed, is legal and ethical. If the property owner shot and
killed the Northern Hawk Owl, he is to blame-not birders. I can empathize
with his stated distress at having that quiet road suddenly get a lot of
attention. I would not like it either. But we are social creatures. We are 7
million in this state and 350 million in this country. At time we are all
going to encounter human activity that is legal but that we don't like. That
said, it never justifies criminal behavior, if that is what occurred.
Birders did not love the owl to death. A human being apparently killed it.
That is on the shooter, not on birders, even if one birder or one bird
photographer trespassed. There were many, many options short of killing a
protected species. Violent behavior is a noted propensity of people, but it
is unpredictable as to any specific event. We are a civilized society.
Birders would have expected a civilized resolution to any problem.

Carol Riddell

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