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Birding ethics

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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Marisar
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Birding ethics

Unread postby Marisar » Mon May 28, 2012 2:34 pm

Hi everyone!

Was just wondering about some birding ethics that I'm not sure about.
I went to game lodge once and when we stopped for sundowners, our guide starting with a Pearl-spotted Owlet call followed by a shrike call. Within minutes there were about 5 different species of birds in the trees surrounding us. I've since read up that the smaller birds go straight to the call so that they can protect their nests from the owlet.

I'm confused as to whether this is ethical or not. I've done the call once or twice when out birding and the results are amazing, but I can't bring myself to count any of these species as I feel like its not ethical.

What's are your thoughts on this topic?

Hope someone can help :thumbs_up:
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DotDan
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Re: Birding ethics

Unread postby DotDan » Mon May 28, 2012 3:16 pm

Throw that best Pearly call and enjoy the scene.. :twisted:

I personally have been out with hordes of guides and other birders and it is quite the common practice. Just as with "phishing", the effect is the same.. some species are very nosy and just want to check out what is happening, especially if there is a chance of ganging up on a little owl.

The main ethical problem is probably that you might be interfering with the Pearly's mating and territorial abilities but also can't really see the big fuss here. Even the Pearly's love to sing with. :lol:

In all seriousness, I think if used sparingly now and again, there is no harm done. :wink:

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adrianp
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Re: Birding ethics

Unread postby adrianp » Mon May 28, 2012 3:17 pm

Lets put it this way in human terms. If I am sitting comfortably at home on a quiet sunday afternoon and bunch of teen hoolgans start playing thump thump music outside at full blast, yes, I will go out and ... speak to them.... :naughty: If a stunning diva sat outside my window half naked and sang her heart out, I would also come running outside, but for different reasons.... :k Right now I don't think we know enough about many of the calls and what they mean to understand the birds reactions to them.

I know that in many area's playback calling to bring out rare species has resulted in them abandoning nests and leaving the area because of the fake territorial calls from "competition". Hence they can be quite harmful.

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DotDan
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Re: Birding ethics

Unread postby DotDan » Mon May 28, 2012 3:18 pm

Oh and I have had some lifers appear using the Pearly call.. One that comes to mind is the Green Capped Erememola's.

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DotDan
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Re: Birding ethics

Unread postby DotDan » Mon May 28, 2012 3:21 pm

adrianp wrote:I know that in many area's playback calling to bring out rare species has resulted in them abandoning nests and leaving the area because of the fake territorial calls from "competition". Hence they can be quite harmful.



Correct, one should be very carefull when using some calls. Some birds can be very teritorial.

I just don't think the Pearly is one of those though. I remember last year I was watching a Pearly a bit in the distance, and I whisteled his lovely tune, and the little shyte didn't even bother to open both eyes.. He tjacked me out with one eye, and continued on napping.

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Marisar
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Re: Birding ethics

Unread postby Marisar » Mon May 28, 2012 3:53 pm

Yes, the territorial thing bothers me a little as well as the nests thing. I worry that I'm doing more harm just to get to see more birds for my life list. So I just go to as many places as financially possible in order to add to my list instead of the bird calls as I'm too worried that I may be doing harm to the birds.

Thanks for the replies guys :thumbs_up: appreciate it.
Latest lifers: Bearded Vulture, Bush Blackcap, Red-necked Francolin, Alpine Swift, Black Stork. All in one morning's outing to Giant's Castle :) Extremely awesome!

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Re: Birding ethics

Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon May 28, 2012 3:58 pm

I don't like it when birders play Pearl-spotted Owlet calls.

First of all it upsets all the birds involved. Secondly it temporarily makes them abandon their nests which leaves it open for a predator attack.

I have seen people play the call over and over and I've been close a few times of shoving his device down his ear hole!

If you must use it, use it sparingly and outside breeding season.
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Marisar
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Re: Birding ethics

Unread postby Marisar » Mon May 28, 2012 4:06 pm

I tend to agree with you wildtuinman. I also worry that the nests are being abandoned at that stage and left open to predation. I saw someone do a pearly call over the weekend and it raked in about 7 different species. I couldn't bring myself to count the species, but I think it's better that way. :D
Latest lifers: Bearded Vulture, Bush Blackcap, Red-necked Francolin, Alpine Swift, Black Stork. All in one morning's outing to Giant's Castle :) Extremely awesome!

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Re: Birding ethics

Unread postby Imax » Mon May 28, 2012 4:18 pm

It comes down to it being too much or not.

If the guide plays the call in the same area day after day I have a huge issue with it, it not only disrupts the owl but other birds in the area as well. If it is a once off in an area then it has less of an impact. In breeding season it is a big no to play any owl. We think we disrupt them for the duration of the time we are there, but they spend over the next days to patrol thier territory for the "intruder" and this could severely disrupt breeding.

To me the guide should have asked the group first if they would have an issue with him playing it, that would have been good manners.

Personally if I want to use pearly's call I whistle it, if I am good enough I get some reaction, else the birds shrug me off, but at least I am calling the birds based on my own skill and not a recording

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Re: Birding ethics

Unread postby lettuceleaf711 » Mon May 28, 2012 4:22 pm

I do the same, Imax. My view, though completely illogical, is that it is okay if I have the skill to make a bird call myself, but not to use a recording.

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Re: Birding ethics

Unread postby Rooies » Mon May 28, 2012 4:28 pm

'Dankie Wildtuinman. So 'n bek moet jem kry' (Good advice) I have done the same, but don't overdo it.
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Re: Birding ethics

Unread postby Imax » Mon May 28, 2012 4:28 pm

I have heard Fork Tailed Drongo imitate Pearly (to his own detriment, being mobbed: lol: ). The recording is "perfect" and usually will get a reaction. Whistling is "imperfect" and the same as another imitator doing it, IMHO.

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wildtuinman
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Re: Birding ethics

Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon May 28, 2012 4:40 pm

Rooies wrote:'Dankie Wildtuinman. So 'n bek moet jem kry' (Good advice) I have done the same, but don't overdo it.


:thumbs_up:
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Marisar
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Re: Birding ethics

Unread postby Marisar » Mon May 28, 2012 6:23 pm

Thanks a mil everyone! Really has helped me a lot with this issue :thumbs_up: I have done it only using whistling but I know someone who uses calls from the Roberts 7 multimedia version, recorded onto a cellphone and then played in the bush. Oh well, each to their own I suppose.
Latest lifers: Bearded Vulture, Bush Blackcap, Red-necked Francolin, Alpine Swift, Black Stork. All in one morning's outing to Giant's Castle :) Extremely awesome!

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Re: Birding ethics

Unread postby MattAxel » Mon May 28, 2012 7:15 pm

Personally I don't do it at all, but I don't really have a problem with people that do it sparingly and not during sensitive times or with sensitive species. I get really pissed off with these people that have no understanding of the birds' breeding patterns etc and that do it nonstop with no regard for the consequences it might have.


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