Wednesday, July 1, 2009

following an ethical path when bird-finding in the nesting season

Remembering that some species can be sensitive to playing tapes, please refrain from tape use when seeking rare, endangered or threatened bird species during the nesting season. While there is certainly a lot of disagreement about this topic, I highly recommend reading the WBCI Issues Committee ethics paper, found here. This paper may be re-done in the future, because there is always much discussion and re-thinking on ethical matters in birding. Some aspects of that paper will eventually be revisited. General rules can be provided, but not every situation is the same. You may be with a professionally-guided tour group, for example, and the leader might make use of the tape. If that is done in a judicious manner, it may be completely acceptable, and do no harm to nesting birds. On the other hand, a string of individuals visiting a site and each playing a recording may be confusing and disrupting to nesting birds. Why not "take the high road" on this? Protecting nesting birds is important for the future of the species, AND for future birders and birding opportunities as well. I always suggest thinking deeply about any valuable or important activity; you might be surprised by your conclusions!

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