Date: 1/12/18 5:22 am
From: Paul Sullivan <paultsullivan...>
Subject: [obol] Re: ebird throws out the baby with the bath water...
Let me try to clarify my thinking on this issue of sharing information about
a rare bird.

If there is any question of the rights of human neighbors/hosts of the bird,
then homeowners privacy and requests for no visitors (no trespassing signs)
MUST be honored. Period.

Barring that.

Do we censor information at the source, assuming that people can't be

- or-

Do we believe that sharing information about birds, educating bird
enthusiasts and the general public is a good thing. Do we share
information, put out appropriate warnings, provide guidance on how to
approach the bird, and educate people about where it came from, how neat it
is to see, etc.

I like the latter approach. I could get a lot of detailed information
about an exotic species from reading books and online sources, but seeing a
real, living specimen is a whole 'nother experience.

Paul Sullivan

From: Paul Sullivan [mailto:<paultsullivan...>]
Sent: Friday, January 12, 2018 4:26 AM
To: 'David Irons' <LLSDIRONS...>; '<obol...>'
Subject: RE: [obol] Re: ebird throws out the baby with the bath water...


That was a long answer to a short comment.

I agree that no one is obligated to share sightings. I agree that the
welfare of birds should come before any birder getting a tick on a list or a
point-blank photo. I know that birders en mass can be disruptive to
non-birders who live next to a celebrity bird. Some neighbors get annoyed
and others become intrigued by the commotion.

Yes, some people have to work and can only chase on weekends. Some day you
too will retire. ;-)

Avenues of communication like OBOL or eBird exist to help share bird
sightings. If there is an issue with disturbing human neighbors
(trespassing, invading privacy, etc), then discretion must be employed and

I'm not willing to make the judgement that BIRDERS GENERALLY ARE AN UNRULY
LOT. I expect others to behave well. I strive to behave well when chasing
a rare bird. I aim to be courteous and amiable to other birders and to any
non-birders present. I can see the bird from a good distance, thank the
host, and move on.

Yes, some people do behave badly. THAT'S ON THEM. If I see inappropriate
behavior, I am willing to confront the individual on the scene. I think
that is better than posting a scold to a birding list. A chorus of "tut,
tut" on a list doesn't stop the behavior at the time it's happening.

I'm still inclined to share sightings, share my scope, and share some modest
explanation about the bird to bystanders. When I'm gone, no one will care
about my lists. I hope they will remember my kindness.

Good birding, everyone,

Paul Sullivan

From: David Irons [mailto:<LLSDIRONS...>]
Sent: Friday, January 12, 2018 12:05 AM
To: <obol...> <mailto:<obol...> ;
<paultsullivan...> <mailto:<paultsullivan...>
Subject: Re: [obol] Re: ebird throws out the baby with the bath water...

Paul et al.,

I have long espoused the idea that being informed (or in the "loop") about
rare birds is not an inalienable right bestowed on all who choose to become
birders and those who decide to work hard at amassing the large lists. .. I
feel privileged when they do share and provide me with information about
birds that I would never know about otherwise.

The existence of OBOL, eBird and various other forums where bird sightings
are reported and subscribing to such forums does not obligate or require
users to post all of our sightings to these forums. I don't take it
personally when I am not in the loop and I have often been outside the loop.
On the rare occasions when I have chosen not to share a particular sighting
I wasn't making decisions based on who I felt was "worthy" of getting to see
the bird.

We aren't a "community of equals"...never have been never will be and it is
unrealistic to expect that to be the case. Hundreds of Oregon birders seem
to have more free time and more discretionary income than I have to devote
to birding. .

We are certainly not equals in terms of skill. .

As for "the rest of us cannot be trusted to behave properly." Sad to say it,
but this is a truism Paul. .

The bottom line is that none of us gets to judge how others in this broad
and diverse community chose to use or not use various bird reporting
avenues. If others do share we should say thank you and be truly
appreciative. .

Each of us will eventually die, at which point our life list will be utterly
meaningless..which is only slightly less important than it is today. No one
other than you will care that you didn't tick Great Gray Owl for your Benton
County list and once gone from this world you'll be in no position to worry
about it yourself, so why worry about it today?

Dave Irons

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