Date: 9/25/18 10:00 pm
From: Oscar Harper <oeharper3...>
Subject: [obol] Re: [boo] Re: Not a birder anymore
Why is Joel even telling us this???? Who gives a shit if he is a birder or
not? How important does he think he is?????

On Mon, Sep 24, 2018 at 6:22 PM Joel Geier <joel.geier...> wrote:

> Jay and all,
> I don't really have time to respond in full because I have other
> involvements at the moment. I'm getting a lot of e-mails and even one phone
> call today, most of them supportive but some who want to argue with me, on
> grounds similar to what you've laid out below.
> The big-tent idea is great but I think all of us who've been in birding
> circles know what it means when a birder says, "So-and-so isn't really a
> birder." We know which kind of accomplishments get celebrated and held up
> as examples that others should aspire to.
> There are other words for all of these other activities that you see as
> part of birding. Naturalist. Hiker. Explorer. Amateur ornithologist.
> Mentor. Teacher. Student. Conservationist.
> I always thought "birdwatcher" was a pretty good word for what I like to
> do, in relation to birds. It's a good word that's been around for a long
> time.
> But a few decades ago some people coined (or adapted) the word "birder"
> for what they saw as a more active and, dare I say, more macho pursuit.
> Birdwatchers were eccentric, usually older people with funny hats who
> belonged to "societies." Birders were (usually) guys willing to jog up
> trails before dawn with headlamps and drive fast all day so they could set
> a "Big Day" record. That's all fine, it's just not something that I
> identify with or even want to be identified with.
> The word "conservationist" is a much bigger tent and it would be great if
> more "real birders" want to be under that tent. We could be celebrating
> people like Dennis Vroman who has banded more birds or Dave Lauten and
> Kathy Castelein who have found and helped to protect more Snowy Plover
> nests than anyone else in Oregon. We could be celebrating the folks who
> show up at legislative hearings in Salem, trying to get stable funding for
> non-game habitat work by ODFW. We could maybe even consider not bitching or
> telling people to "take it to BOO" at the slightest whiff of a call for
> political involvement.
> About BOO, I think a lot of birders don't even know it exists, or else
> they think it's just for comments related to the Malheur NWR occupation by
> the Bundy Boyz. There are only a few "elite" Oregon birders who ever
> contribute or comment. Several have admitted to me that they're not even
> signed up and they never look at it.
> Finally, my apologies to the many people who've written to me and I
> haven't responded to yet. I'm really busy right now with some other
> involvements, alongside of my regular work. Some of you know what I'm
> talking about but even if OBOL rules permitted it, I wouldn't want to talk
> about it in such a wide-open forum. I do intend to get back to everyone
> with a personal response and my e-mail inbox is full of red dots. But it
> might take a while.
> Happy birdwatching,
> Joel
> On Mon, 2018-09-24 at 14:55 -0700, Jay Withgott wrote:
> Joel and all —
> I’m unaware of what specifically may have precipitated your initial
> posting, Joel, but I, for one, have always valued your perspective and your
> contributions on OBOL, so I certainly hope you’ll remain in our online
> community! I also, like you, very much wish that more birders would devote
> greater time and effort to help conserve the birds we all enjoy — this is
> sorely needed. However, I think the wording of your message sets up a
> false dichotomy by equating the word “birder” — a broad term rich and deep
> with meaning(s) — with narrower conceptions like “lister” or “chaser”.
> Although many of us enjoy chasing rarities and/or building lists, this is
> hardly the only, or even primary, motivation for most birders I know. I
> think all of us — including the most hardcore chasers — are motivated by
> some or all of the following:
> * getting outdoors to enjoy natural surroundings
> * exploring new areas
> * recreating with friends who enjoy the same pastime
> * learning about bird behavior, distribution, and abundance
> * building field skills and the ability to predict bird occurrence based
> on knowledge of habitat and seasonality
> * leading field trips and teaching others about birds and nature
> * writing, illustrating, speaking, or otherwise communicating the wonders
> of birds and nature to others
> * researching and publishing on aspects of field ornithology that advance
> our scientific understanding of birds
> * enjoying the simple (or not-so-simple) act of observing birds
> Every individual has his or her own skills, interests, priorities, and
> constraints, so each of us will pursue different mixes of these approaches.
> There many ways to be a “birder," and I think we’re all best served if we
> retain a big-tent meaning for this term. There is nothing black-and-white
> about how one pursues interests in birds. One can be a lister AND a
> conservationist; a chaser AND a restorationist; a teacher AND a student;
> etc., etc. I predict that anyone attending the upcoming OBA meeting will
> witness a full and rich mix of diverse approaches to birding within and
> among the attendees.
> Joel, I know you know all this already, but I feel it worthwhile to put in
> writing for the sake of the many people on this listserv who may be newer
> to the community. This is because I think it’s important to recognize that
> the nature of communication on listservs such as OBOL tends to heighten the
> perception of rarity-chasing as a component of birding. The rules, norms,
> and expectations for posting messages on a listserv like OBOL tend to
> constrict and weed out the majority of what each of us might think, feel,
> experience, and wish to discuss with others from a day out birding. Instead
> they urge us to be concise in our communication and to focus our reports on
> the surprising occurrences, which are going to include the rare species and
> out-of-place vagrants. This is necessary, or we would all be swimming in so
> much unsolicited information that no one would read any of it. But it does
> end up having the cumulative effect of portraying our collective birding
> efforts as being far more focused on rarity-chasing than they truly are.
> For instance, this past week on a free day I could have driven to the
> coast to chase a Hudsonian Godwit that would have been bird #400 for my
> Oregon lifelist and would have required an OBOL posting had I found it.
> Instead I chose to stay closer to home and poke around the wilder stretches
> of Sauvie Island hoping to find some September shorebirds myself. It was a
> poor migration day and I found nothing notable — and so posted nothing on
> OBOL — yet I enjoyed plenty of natural wonders that day that broadened my
> appreciation of nature in our region just a bit more, and I also enjoyed
> running into a couple of birding friends in the field and catching up and
> learning from them.
> As for doing more for conservation, I’m with you 100%. But those birders
> who choose to advance conservation efforts will naturally do so in
> different ways, according to their own strengths, interests, abilities, and
> opportunities. Engaging directly in habitat restoration is one excellent
> way, but there are many others, ranging from education and introducing
> others to the wonders of birds (see above) to lobbying and political
> advocacy to contributing money and/or volunteer time to well-established
> conservation organizations. For anyone wanting to know an easy way to help
> serve bird conservation efforts in our region, I can tell you as a 7-year
> board member of Portland Audubon that I continue to be impressed by this
> organization’s extraordinarily effective efforts and programs. I also
> contribute to international organizations such as the American Bird
> Conservancy and the Rainforest Trust.
> OBOL was never intended to be an outlet for discussing bird conservation
> issues in Oregon. BOO is currently such an outlet. It might be worth
> discussing why BOO has not yet produced the traffic typical of OBOL. One
> possible reason — informed by my observations of our hard-working Portland
> Audubon staff — may be that many of the folks doing on-the-ground
> conservation work are simply too busy to spend time on listservs! At any
> rate, I’m happy to help brainstorm about better ways we can foster more
> communication regarding conservation issues with birds in Oregon.
> Jay Withgott
> Portland
> Msg: #8 in digest
> Subject: [obol] Re: Not a birder anymore
> From: Joel Geier <joel.geier...>
> Date: Sun, 23 Sep 2018 10:54:58 -0700
> 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
> conservation.
> 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 <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.

Join us on Facebook!