Date: 9/24/18 7:02 pm
From: Leith McKenzie <dmarc-noreply...> (Redacted sender loinneilceol for DMARC)
Subject: [obol] Re: Not a birder anymore
As usual, Joel is right on.  Bird conservation is where it's at.  Where do you want to start Joel?  Cheat Grass and Fire?  In general, I think it a waste of tax-payer money to suppress range-fires and a waste of tax-payer money to do prescribed burns on range-lands.  But invasive Cheat Grass complicates the picture, often replacing sagebrush steppe habitat with a cheat grass ocean for some period of time.  An ocean that is of marginal value to native avian species and zero value to endangered Sage Grouse.
Of course because of climate disruption, we and the birds can look forward to the seral succession of numerous (if not all) plant communities in Oregon.  Opinions vary about how fast the southern ecosystems move north.  But I found it especially noteworthy that in 2018 Fire Management Officials at the Ferguson Fire in/near Yosemite NP were talking openly in public about the expected replacement of Conifer Forest by Oak Savannah at that location.  Arguably every single birder should be working every day to help bird species survive Climate Disruption.
At Horsefly Mt in 2018, the ecosystem is in extreme drought. Cone crops failed for both the White Firs and Ponderosa Pines (this is likely to cause mortality for species dependent on cones - birds have the advantage of leaving, but no telling what they will find elsewhere, squirrels are screwed.). In addition all fruiting shrub crops failed, no squaw currants, no service berries, no wild plums, no choke cherries, no elderberries, and worst of all no bitter cherries - the loss of bitter cherries, especially, is likely to contribute to bird mortality, many thousands of individuals birds have been adapted to using this abundant food supply on Horsefly Mt during fall migration.
I think I'll stop here for now.  So Joel, would you agree that "birders" can be "conservationists" when they are concerned about global warming, when they are reducing their carbon footprint, when they are making smart food choices that reduce methane production by factory farms? 

Thanks Mark but no, it's not even a hobby for me at this stage.

To me a hobby implies something that you're putting time into for its

own sake. "Avid" birders are hobbyists who happen to be highly focused

on their hobby.

To clarify, I still plan to volunteer on BBS routes as a long-term

project that seems worthwhile for monitoring birds and their

conservation status. I'll keep doing CBCs for the same reason, plus I

like visiting those places and seeing the people who show up as

volunteers, year after year.

But as the years go by, I've found it harder and harder to identify with

hobbyists who can always find time to dash out to the local sewage ponds

if someone sees a bird that they "need" for their county year list, but

never seem to have time to help on habitat restoration. Or folks who can

point their scopes at birds right outside a prison fence without doing

anything to help those inside.

People are of course entitled to pursue their favorite hobby, whether

it's collecting stamps, building model railroads in your basement, or

traveling hundreds of miles to add one more species to your life list.

To each their own. This is a birding list and obviously there are a lot

of people here who are avid about birding, in varying degrees. I just

wish there was something similar for people who are avid about bird


On Sun, 2018-09-23 at 06:06 -0700, Braz wrote:



> I would proffer that you are now a hobby birder, no longer an avid

> birder.



> But I've been wrong before.



> Mark Brazelton

> Hobby Birder

> Medford, Oregon




> On Sat, Sep 22, 2018 at 10:00 PM Joel Geier

> wrote:



> Friends,


> It's been a good ride for the past twenty years or so. I thank

> you for

> the many things that I've learned along the way.


> But I've reached the point where I no longer really care if

> someone

> finds a Louisiana Waterthrush or whatever in Benton County.

> It's not

> really meaningful even if it's real. It's just another stray

> bird that

> doesn't represent real conservation issues.


> So no, I'm not a birder anymore. Please forgive me for that.


> If you want to talk about bird conservation, I'm still here,

> and I'm

> listening.

“Each of us is in truth an idea of the Great Gull and an unlimited idea of freedom.”

Jonathan Livingston Seagull
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