Date: 4/30/18 11:22 am
From: Eric Harrold via VA-bird <va-bird...>
Subject: Re: [VA-bird] Excessive use of owl playback?
As a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the early 2000s, my graduate adviser and I broadcast 5 minutes of the same recorded BDOW call that 10 million birders surely have on their iPhones and other luring devices. We found that once owls were incubating eggs, they paid little attention to the broadcast. The only thing that seemed to impact their behavior was if we were provisioning them with food to facilitate capture for banding or transmitter attachment. If you broadcast during the pre-nesting period, they were highly responsive as this is the time in which owls come to recognize their neighbors and establish territorial boundaries. 
My two cents on the never-ending debate about the use of audiolures and the big picture, IT DOES NOT MATTER! Now that doesn't mean that you can't harrass a bird with an audiolure. Sure you can. I don't think most folks abusively broadcast...most are like myself, they get the bird's attention and then they turn off the device. But in a world when 95% of species declines are directly related to habitat loss and alteration, I think there are more troubling matters than the use of audiolures. Some people seem to like to grumble about things they think they can effect while ignoring those they feel powerless to influence. It's easier to heckle folks about playing a tape than it is to save 10,000 acres of a particular intact natural landscape, that is for sure. I've certainly shown a lot of people life birds through the use of an audiolure and I see no reason to regret providing those experiences. 
Birds and bird conservation would be better off if folks would take science-based positions that are founded on evidence rather than base their arguments on raw human emotion and anthropomorphizing wildlife and the natural world. 
Eric HarroldHays, NC
On Monday, April 30, 2018, 12:06:58 PM EDT, Marlene A Condon via VA-bird <va-bird...> wrote:

Hi John,
Thanks for your comments, which are polite in nature as opposed to some from others on this list serve who have accused me of things that are not true.
What folks are missing is how methodical the calling was; they are NOT paying attention to what I wrote.  People are writing with descriptions of behavior that are nothing at all like what happened here last weekend.  This isn't about hearing "Who cooks for you" for a long time; it's about hearing it repeated in a very structured and artificial manner, which is something humans, not animals, tend to  do.
Many birders are getting angry and just want to blast me instead of allow mention of something that is a serious problem in the birding world. Their strong and bitter words suggest guilty consciences to me!  Anyway, the rudest folks said ages ago that they weren't paying attention to this list serve anymore, but I guess they just can't stop reading me!!!!
And now I have work to do, folks, so-o-o-o, I'm not discussing this topic anymore.  I'm glad I brought it up though because it has illustrated very well that not all birders are as nice as people insist they are.  
In a message dated 4/29/2018 5:51:05 PM US Eastern Standard Time, <va-bird...> writes:


I think Janice Frye's suggestion is a plausible one. A pair of Barred Owls
is holding territory this Spring in my neighborhood (less than a mile from
Charlottesville High School). On April 1, no fooling, I witnessed one of
the owls deliver its classic advertising call every 40 seconds or so for
almost two hours. I was astonished. Last evening one of them began calling
at 5:45p and continued, off and on, for three hours, though not as
consistently or regularly as the April 1 bird. In the piney woods of east
Texas and in the mountains of West Virginia I've heard them call for hours
on end when conditions were right. I don't know the details of your
experience with the putative birder using playback to excess, but I
wouldn't be surprised to learn that you were hearing actual Barred Owls
after all.

John Rowlett
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