Date: 1/6/19 4:52 pm From: Stefan Martin via CTBirds <ctbirds...> Subject: [CT Birds] Owls and eBird- A word of caution
Hey all, It seems that every winter there is an incident (or many) involving ‘Day-roosting Owls’ (I.e. Saw-whet and Long-eared Owls) and unethical approach or behavior. While the guidelines for this listserv prohibit reporting these species, eBird does not follow the same criteria. Although it is important to obtain this data on individual species and occurrence, reports of Owls on eBird lead to unnecessary disturbance and sometimes, even death (I’ve seen this happen)..
What’s the reason for this post? It was brought to my attention that there was a recent issue involving an individual and a specific bird that had been regularly reported on eBird over the past few weeks which escalated to the point where law enforcement needed to be called. The individual (photographer) was shaking a tree and removing/snapping branches by hand in order to get the Owl to look at the photographer for the ‘perfect shot’.. The individual was confronted by another birder and became a scene rather quickly.. Needless to say, this bird which had been around for weeks now, has abandoned the roost and the tree was essentially destroyed. I’m not a fan of being the ‘Owl-Police’ but unfortunately, people do not think about the risk they are putting on these birds in the field or online. I know for a fact that these birds are chased around every year based on current eBird reports with photographers traveling from surrounding states for a chance to photograph these awesome birds. So with this being said, I strongly urge everyone to refrain from posting Owls to eBird or hiding these species from your checklists. Maybe Greg has some thoughts or suggestions on this or how you can edit lists in order to hide these sensitive species.. There have been other reliable roosting locations that do not exist anymore because of continuous flushing and disturbance.. It’s really such a shame that these things happen.
Anyway, please keep this in mind in the future and please be sure to mention something to those you see using unethical approach. If you see something, say something...