Date: 5/2/17 2:59 pm
From: Barry Haas <bhaas...>
Subject: Re the Whooping Crane discussion
Dear ARBIRDers,

Back on May 30, 2013 I posted the following:

"Dear ARBIRDers,

The subject line of this post "Next to feral cats, birdwatchers might be the greatest threat to wild nesting birds" is the opening sentence of today's column by outdoor writer Bryan Hendricks in the sports section of the Arkansas Democrat. Those of you interested in birds may find it an "interesting" read.

From the deep woods just west of Little Rock,
Barry Haas"

A number of folks who subscribe to the Arkansas Democrat accessed and read the article, and most were as astounded as I was by the column written by hunter/fisherman Bryan Hendricks. Boiled down the column's message was: "If it wasn't for birders interfering with nesting, avian species would be just fine", and "Hunters good, birders bad".

If you are a Democrat subscriber and have an online account, you can still read the column by searching the archives for either "Wildlife interaction needs limits" or "Next to feral cats, birdwatchers might be the greatest threat to wild nesting birds".

Given the healthy ongoing discussion about the Whooping Cranes, I resurrected this article because some of the information Hendricks included in the column are good lessons for birders regarding ethical versus unethical practices in our birding and wildlife photography activities.

A snip:

"Next to feral cats, birdwatchers might be the greatest threat to wild nesting birds.

Curiously, that idea surfaced in the spring issue of Bay Soundings, published by the Florida Audubon Society. The article, written by Ann Paul and Mark Rachal, was titled “Love Hurts! Some Nature Photographers Get Too Close.” It documented nest destruction of rare and threatened water birds in Tampa Bay relating to intrusions by bird photographers.
According to the article, “As parent birds flee from approaching observers, eggs and chicks are left exposed to the sun, vulnerable to predators like crows, and prone to falling from their nests to their deaths.”"


And one more snip: "This article covered uncharted territory because the effects of “non-consumptive” activities on wildlife are unknown. Wildlife viewing and wildlife photography are considered low-impact and environmentally friendly. If the Audubon article is accurate, they could actually cause generational losses that might ultimately reduce entire populations."


So we do have to be mindful as birders and/or wildlife photographers to ensure first and foremost that, as Karen posed, we "do no harm".

From the deep woods just west of Little Rock,
Barry Haas
 
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