Date: 12/6/18 8:31 am
From: Patrick O'Driscoll <patodrisk...>
Subject: Re: [cobirds] Gyrfalcon; Do we want an RBA???
I agree with Maureen B. on both counts, and I'll bet a lot of us on CObirds
do, too: Occasionally venturing out to try to see birds on the list, but
also having great interest what's out there, season to season, whether I
can get out to see it or not.

Patrick O'Driscoll
Denver County

On Thu, Dec 6, 2018 at 8:26 AM Maureen Blackford <mblackford...>

> I would hate to see the compiled list on Cobirds be discontinued. I’m
> not a chaser, although I have gone to see some areas/birds reported.
> However, I find it of great interest to see what birds are moving through
> the state.
> And to experience birding virtually, through other people’s sightings; I
> believe it enriches my enjoyment.
> Maureen Blackford
> Boulder County
> On Dec 6, 2018, at 8:06 AM, Diana Beatty <otowi33.33...> wrote:
> I do think it is worth asking who uses the COBIRDS RBA report and getting
> some data before deciding to continue the extensive effort or not, unless
> someone just realyl enjoys doing it. Is there anyone out there who uses it
> fairly regularly? What tools are people using to learn of 'rare' birds?
> Personally, I have not used it much if at all. I have sometimes learned
> of great birds in general COBIRDS posts but the RBA is a tool I haven't
> really used much. I did use it a few times to try to find out if a bird had
> been reported recently several days after the initial report when I didn't
> see something in eBird, since I know not everyone uses eBird. I get rare
> bird alerts for certain counties from eBird and they are more specific and
> timely than the RBA for me personally, but I do rarely chase so my
> experience may be atypical. I also learn of some birds on the CFO Facebook
> page. I do wonder if there is some concern at least along the Front Range
> about loving rare birds to death - i.e. publicizing a sighting very openly
> possibly being harmful to the bird in question or to the reputation of
> birders, etc.,, in part because there may simply be too many people
> interested in seeing it, some of whom may be more 'rambunctious' in their
> quests than others. I do not know that the RBA would be considered a
> contributor to those concerns, if people have them, though. I appreciate
> the willingness of people to share and compile exciting sightings even if I
> do not go to see them because I do enjoy hearing about what of note is
> going on re: birds in Colorado.
> Diana Beatty
> El Paso County
> On Thu, Dec 6, 2018 at 4:23 AM 'Allison Hilf' via Colorado Birds <
> <cobirds...> wrote:
>> I totally understand the sensitivity of a Gyrfalcon sighting, and
>> consider it like an owl. I agree with Andy and others that it should not
>> be publicly shared. I wish it would never have been reported and this
>> discussion never happened.
>> My comment was meant to be about the more general issue where most of the
>> more experienced CObirders no longer report any rare bird sightings to
>> CObirds or to the RBA.
>> I was ready to commit a considerable amount of time and effort into
>> helping Joe and others keep the RBA going after Joyce retires at the end of
>> the year. I’m now having serious doubts, as so few experienced Birders
>> take the time to report ANY rare findings to CObirds.
>> I don’t list and no longer chase anything but a lifer (Gyrfalcon is NOT a
>> lifer; I had no interest in chasing the bird). I help beginning Birders
>> and spend my time analyzing bird behaviors - we all bird differently.
>> I apologize if I came across critical of competitive listers; we can all
>> agree to enjoy birding differently. But do listers want to share
>> sightings? If so, is COBirds the place to do it, and are people willing to
>> report sightings to CObirds? Otherwise, why should we spend considerable
>> time and effort on compiling an RBA???
>> Please respond; as I need to know if anyone sincerely wants the RBA to
>> continue.
>> Thank you,
>> Allison Hilf
>> Aurora, CO
>> Sent from my iPhone
>> On Dec 5, 2018, at 8:19 PM, Andrew Bankert <abankert2007...>
>> wrote:
>> Let me start off by saying that the Gyrfalcon was not refound anywhere
>> this morning that I am aware of with people looking along Trilby Road and
>> at the landfill.
>> After thinking about it, I do not regret the 15 hour delay between
>> identifying and posting the Gyrfalcon to CObirds. I try to get the word
>> about rarities out as quickly as possible, but this Gyrfalcon was a special
>> case with both being a charismatic species drawing attention from a wider
>> number of people than your average rarity and being found in a restricted
>> area where we could easily lose access if there were any incidents
>> involving birders not following protocols at the landfill. As birders, I
>> understand how exciting it is to chase a rare bird and add a new tick to a
>> list, but I do wonder whether during our pursuits we forget about
>> considering the impacts we might have on the birds we chase and the areas
>> we visit.
>> Considering these impacts, including consulting with other birders, is
>> what happened during that 15 hour delay. Just last week while watching the
>> Grandview Cemetery Eastern Screech-Owl from a safe distance across the
>> canal, a group of us witnessed two, probably well intentioned, birders walk
>> right up to the tree the owl was roosting in while searching for it without
>> seeing it. Cases like this seem to occur somewhat regularly with
>> charismatic species that draw attention from more than just listers. There
>> has previously been suboptimal behavior and breaking of protocol from
>> chasers at rarities even within the same CBC Circle as the Gyrfalcon
>> (American Woodcock and Streak-backed Oriole come to mind). Normally, I
>> would trust in the birding community's ability to help educate this small
>> number of people, but the situation at the landfill is different with large
>> equipment with the potential to cause serious injury to someone not
>> following the landfill protocol. Such an event would surely ruin access to
>> one of my favorite birding spots in Larimer County, which we luckily have
>> the privilege to bird at unlike some other landfills in the state. One of
>> the gatekeepers at the landfill today did say that there were some problems
>> with birders not following protocols yesterday, which verified my concerns
>> about posting this sighting. Finally, the Gyrfalcon did not show up on any
>> eBird alerts because they have been deemed to be a sensitive species, and I
>> thought this was worth considering before plastering this sighting for
>> everyone to know about. It seems that in other states birders and
>> falconers have run into problems over Gyrfalcons, and it was not until
>> Tuesday morning that I was confident that it is illegal to trap a wild
>> Gyrfalcon in Colorado.
>> I still think we, as a birding community, should be excited when rare
>> birds show up and try to share them with everyone when appropriate, but I
>> think we do need to consider the impacts of both reporting rarities and
>> chasing birds. If you find a Red-faced Warbler at a city park there
>> probably won't be too much need for hesitation, but if you find a Snowy Owl
>> that is best viewed from an active construction site you might want to
>> consider the impacts of informing more than just a small group of people
>> you know well. I also hope we can appreciate birders who do consider the
>> impacts their hobby has on the birds they see, the places they visit, and
>> the environment as a whole. Finally, I do encourage anyone interested to
>> visit a landfill that allows access to look at gulls because you are often
>> rewarded with a good study of difficult-to-identify birds, just make sure
>> you always follow their rules and are constantly vigilant of your
>> surroundings.
>> Andy Bankert
>> Fort Collins
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