Date: 10/25/19 10:50 am From: Nicholas Martens <nicholas.j.martens...> Subject: [obol] Re: Calling Out Disrespectful Behavior
My initial response to Caleb’s exceedingly thoughtful post was to privately encourage him and Courtney to please keep doing what they have been. Birding with them is a great joy to us, and I’m grateful to Courtney’s non-traditional record-keeping as it allows us to have an archive of the day’s memories out in the field, in addition to serving the more mundane task of recording bird sightings.
But Matt is exactly right when he says that there should be a large and public reply in calling out disrespectful behavior. Except for reviewers, nobody is under any obligation to read another person’s checklist comments. You’re perfectly entitled to roll your eyes or grit your teeth or privately mark your annoyance however you like. Making the birding community a less supportive place over private tastes is something that should not be tolerated.
Courtney and Caleb are two of the most thoughtful, respectful and joyful people we’ve had the pleasure to bird with, and that those qualities are made to shine through in even as barren an environment as an inventory of bird sightings speaks volumes of them in the best possible way.
As a closing note, I want to bring attention to this article Gizmodo from earlier in the year. A visiting Tasmanian birder traveled to America and made a series of exuberant checklist comments in eBird, including for many species that we might be inclined to take for granted. This birder was widely praised all over Twitter and other outlets for bringing his wide-eyed excitement to a venue where we’re accustomed to find drudgery. Although he was treated as a novelty, he was merely doing what Courtney and Caleb do regularly. Rather than shaming them, we should try to follow their example more closely.