Date: 1/11/18 7:23 pm From: David Irons <llsdirons...> Subject: [obol] Re: ebird throws out the baby with the bath water...
Posting the exact location for any roosting owl is a bad idea, particularly Willamette Valley Burrowing Owls, as their roosting culverts are typically right next to roads with nothing around but bare dirt or short grass. Any time wintering WV Burrowing Owls are reported a stream of birders and photographers descend upon them. Getting a year bird or your umpteenth point-blank photo of this species is not a good excuse for the harassment that they endure. For these reasons I also didn’t report one I found in early November. It was found by someone else a week or so later and the exact location was mapped on eBird and reported on listservs.
The logic of hiding Gyrfalcon reports escapes me. I cannot recall an instance of wintering Oregon Gyr disappearing in midseason. Once found? they tend to remain thru the season. In the southern Willamette Valley, the epicenter of w. Oregon Gyr sightings, there are a number of active falconers, some who I know personally and others that I’ve crossed paths with in the field. Trust me, they know where the falcons are long before the birders figure it out. eBird and OBOL postings are not informing them of anything they don’t already know.
In the 70s there was the real concern that public records led to capture, legal
or not, of Gyrs and Peregrines. Captive raised falcons are now a standard item
on the market and no falconer with half a brain wants a wild bird months or years
out of the nest. I think a myth is firmly established. I purposely withheld reporting
a Burrowing Owl on Obol this November because I've seen non-birders with monster
lens walk right up to them in Linn County. Weeks later I saw that someone posted
the same BUOW on ebird within a day or two of my sighting. It came with a very
detailed map of where to find it. I understand ebird's intentions. Hell is paved with
good intentions (or bad excuses, take your pick). The benefit of access to these
Gyrfalcon sightings weeks to years post facto seems significant. The risk under a
similar timeline seems non-existant. I can imagine any number of other species
worthy of masking under various circumstances that will no doubt never get it.
On Jan 11, 2018, at 4:51 PM, Mike Patterson wrote:
If you go looking for Gyrfalcon records on eBird, you will discover
that they have all been masked. You can no longer get any info other
than very approximate locations when using the find a species tool.
I will start by saying that I understand about releasing locations of
sensitive species. I understand that by masking a location, ebird
protects sensitive species and themselves. I fully understand,
appreciate and support the larger effort in this.
Why protect a record from last year? Why hide the date? Why disappear
a list for a bird that left the place it was seen 2 decades ago?