Date: 3/12/21 3:09 pm
From: Peter Hinow <peter.hinow...>
Subject: [wisb] Re: Reporting nest sites
I would assume that ornithologists are responsible scientists and that they
do really spend some time thinking about their optimal research methods. I
don't know what the rules are for obtaining a banding permit, since it is
not exactly experimentation "on" animals. But I do think one has to be
trained and passed a certain amount of certification. Here is what is on
the top of the google list
https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/how-do-i-obtain-a-federal-bird-banding-permit?qt-news_science_productsqt-news_science_products
Being a scientist myself, I would like to say something in favor of
research "out of curiosity". Moreover, just a few reliable observations
allow a large number of facts to be deduced from them.
Happy weekend,
Peter Hinow (UWM, Mathematical Sciences)
Milwaukee
On Fri, Mar 12, 2021 at 2:42 PM Brian <courthousehollow...> wrote:

> Hello everyone,
> First off, this is LONG and a bit of a rant, so don’t read this if that
> bothers you. Before posting I reread the WisBird rules, and yes, I’d be ok
> with my mother reading this 😊 But my ultimate goal is to get people
> thinking so that birds can thrive.
>
> I'm wondering if there's a pink elephant in the room in this conversation?
> Are all banding “studies” self-justifying? I have a question for the forum
> if people would be so kind. I'm curious if anyone could summarize for me
> how most of the bird banding that is done is anything but HARASSMENT to
> them? I am honestly sending this out of genuine curiosity, have no
> mal-intentions, and am not being derogatory towards anyone's interest in
> banding. I really do want to understand.
>
> I've been birding for 15 years or so now and in my quest to wrap my head
> around banding: I have helped with bird banding multiple times over
> multiple years for grad students in the UW system and elsewhere, read many,
> many articles by professionals, USGS, as well as lay folks perspectives via
> articles and on forums, yet I could only come up with 4 examples of how
> banding could ACTUALLY benefit birds.
>
> The 1st, is using banding for translocating, ex. to determine which males
> are which in order to move some of the younger ones in the interest of
> populating other areas due to habitat loss, etc. The 2nd, involves
> endangered species or soon to be endangered, ex. using banding for the
> purpose of knowing who’s who, where they go, how many successfully fledge,
> etc. The 3rd, is to assist with game bird hunting regulations. The 4th, is
> determining survival rates after oil spills or for toxicology in general.
> But
> all 4 examples don't seem to justify the majority of banding.
>
> With the exception of those uses, every example I've ever seen/heard as to
> the "benefits" of what we have learned/learn from banding could be
> distilled down to "satisfying human curiosity" or worse, giving humans
> doing these projects "something fun to do" with a carte blanche
> psychological safety net, say, when they stuff a passerine headfirst into a
> pill bottle to weigh them, that, "I'm doing this to help birds!" Some
> examples of what I've come across of how banding "helps" birds are:
> learning that certain birds move here or there in their lifetimes, fly in
> one stretch over the gulf, live for X amount of years, territorial
> behavior, territory size and fidelity, mate fidelity, reproductive behavior
> (which bird builds the nest or feeds the young and how often), etc. Again,
> satisfying human curiosity....
>
> To me, learning that a bird uses this or that summer/winter site, with the
> exception of not destroying existing habitats (...but, really, where a few
> recaptured birds go isn't much help to the THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of
> others of that species that go elsewhere), is more or less irrelevant to
> conservation efforts in 2021. We've known for 60 years minimum that birds
> need habitat in general and they generally need most varieties of habitat.
> So, in my mind, learning a certain Warbler passing through Wisconsin (or
> anywhere) winters in X particular patch of forest in Venezuela is
> questionable conservation at best, and most likely, just
> harassment/wasteful. Perhaps it could generate local interest during
> fundraising, but so could MANY other things. And wouldn't birds be BETTER
> served by using those funds for protecting/acquiring as much quality
> habitat with as much habitat diversity as possible?
>
> It appears scientists need to be reminded that in their vigor and eagerness
> for "data", publications, career cache, tenure, job security, a raise, etc,
> that they might be forgetting to consider just how "essential" an invasive
> study (banding) is to the population’s (or individual’s) future survival,
> short and long term. And that needs to be asked for EVERY "study" using
> bands/transmitters. The problem is... it appears to rarely be asked.
> "Banding is good", is the inculcated mantra....and "the more the better"!
>
> I can't help but think that most efforts by concerned birders, especially
> banding, are beating a dead horse, or worse, diluting resources for
> conservation that could be better spent by giving birds a greater chance at
> living LIFE. Knowing any of the aforementioned things we learn from banding
> (aside from my first 4 examples) seems a stretch that it’s helping birds
> any. It's been long established that birds decline without habitat in which
> they can thrive, and we know enough (and have known enough for a LONG time)
> to assist most of them with that. Banding just seems like a bizarre thing
> to do to another creature so we can "learn" about them. An antiquated and
> insensitive holdover that appears to be kept around because "it's what we
> do". I would guess eBird provides FAR more useful data without harassing
> the birds (with the exception of a few knuckleheads “gathering” data for
> eBird).
>
> But what COULD benefit birds, and benefit them in a BIG way, is if everyone
> who has ever banded (or many other data collection methods) took ALL the
> costs over the years associated with such efforts (gas, equipment, time,
> funding/grants, etc, etc) and pooled those resources to buy/restore habitat
> globally; critical areas being of 1st concern. Birds, and Nature in
> general, would be FAR better off than the "value" of the reams of data that
> was/is/will be collected or the costs of the tremendous resources used
> worldwide to further such endeavors.
>
> Essentially, I’m wondering if our efforts are truly making any difference
> or if we're just swimming in interesting but ultimately useless data about
> birds.
>
> Any feedback contrary to my view is much appreciated.
>
>
>
> Thank you!
>
> Brian Pierce, Green Bay, Brown County
>
> On Thu, Mar 11, 2021 at 6:30 PM Bill Stout <stoutw...> wrote:
>
> > Hi Tom,
> > I decided to forward my email to you to the entire group because I
> believe
> > that a good number of people do not understand the perspective of a
> > researcher. In fact, some even may be considered hypocritical (e.g.,
> > Madison Eagle Nest Watch seems to depend on volunteers to REPORT and
> > MONITOR eagle NEST LOCATIONS for them, but they are dead set against
> anyone
> > reporting nests to anyone else). I have read several other viewpoints
> that
> > also seem one-sided or perhaps uninformed. It is certainly not my intent
> > here to offend anyone; however, I am not so naive as to think that this
> > won't happen. Nevertheless, it is not my intent.
> >
> > Most Sincerely,
> > Bill Stout
> > Ashippun, USA
> >
> > My email to Tom on Wednesday in response to his post:
> >
> > Thanks for your insights, Tom, as I greatly appreciate them. I just
> wanted
> > you to know that I am very conservative in my work when it comes to
> > alerting others of nest sights. I do not list locations such as on eBird
> or
> > report locations to anyone. However, as an educator, if someone is very
> > interested in the birds or if a nest is in the immediate vicinity of
> their
> > home, I work to provide them with a "one of a kind" educational
> experience.
> >
> > Last year I did not accommodate the general public and followed the North
> > American Bird Banding Council recommendations for bird banding in the
> time
> > of a COVID-19 pandemic (with the exception of one of the fist Great
> Horned
> > Owl sites as it was before recommendations were out). This year will be
> > more complicated as we try to move back to a new normal during this time.
> > Nevertheless, I will be very cautious.
> >
> > Thanks again for your post.
> >
> > Sincerely,
> > Bill Stout
> > Ashippun, USA
> >
> > William E. Stout
> >
> > ________________________________
> > From: Bill Stout <stoutw...>
> > Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2021 12:58 PM
> > To: <sykes...> <sykes...>
> > Subject: Re: [wisb] Reporting nest sites
> >
> > Thanks for your insights, Tom, as I greatly appreciate them. I just
> wanted
> > you to know that I am very conservative in my work when it comes to
> > alerting others of nest sights. I do not list locations such as eBird or
> > report locations to anyone. However, as an educator, if someone is very
> > interested in the birds or if a nest is in the immediate vicinity of
> their
> > home, I work to provide them with a "one of a kind" educational
> experience.
> >
> > Last year I did not accommodate the general public and followed the North
> > American Bird Banding Council recommendations for bird banding in the
> time
> > of a COVID-19 pandemic (with the exception of one of the fist Great
> Horned
> > Owl sites as it was before recommendations were out). This year will be
> > more complicated as we try to move back to a new normal during this time.
> > Nevertheless, I will be very cautious.
> >
> > Thanks again for your post.
> >
> > Sincerely,
> > Bill Stout
> > Ashippun, USA
> >
> > William E. Stout
> >
> > ________________________________
> > From: <wisbirdn-bounce...> <wisbirdn-bounce...> on
> > behalf of Tom Sykes <sykes...>
> > Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2021 10:43 AM
> > To: Wisbirdn <wisbirdn...>
> > Subject: [wisb] Reporting nest sites
> >
> > From time to time the issue of reporting bird nests appears on the list.
> > And while there is some disagreement about whether or not a nest site is
> or
> > is not being disturbed by human presence, I would direct you to both the
> > ABA Birding Ethics and WSO Birding Ethics sites as a reminder for those
> > wondering about the ethics of reporting a nest site. WISBIRDN subscribes
> to
> > following both.
> >
> > https://wsobirds.org/about-wso/code-of-ethics
> >
> > https://www.aba.org/aba-code-of-birding-ethics/
> >
> > It is true that many reports of nesting raptors appear on eBird as well
> as
> > many other listservs and Facebook pages. Citizen Science is a great tool
> > but it is also used by a few unethical people. People who don’t care
> about
> > disturbing birds in order to get “the perfect shot”, or, people who would
> > traffic in birds. Even curious onlookers. Fortunately, these people are
> in
> > a minority. But they are out there.
> >
> > It’s also one thing for one or two people to observe a nest but consider
> a
> > report in an urban area when many people arrive at the same time - as
> with
> > the eagle nest recently reported in Walworth city. Birds may be
> > intimidated. Or not. The problem is, it’s usually too late to reverse the
> > damage when it’s found to be they are disturbed.
> >
> > Some years ago an eagle nest was reported in Horicon Marsh. Fish and
> > Wildlife staff closed off the immediate area although the nest could be
> > observed at some distance. The eagles were successful. There have been
> > eagle nests up and down the Fox River near Appleton easily seen by anyone
> > who wishes to observe at a safe distance. The same with many lakes in the
> > northern part of the state.
> >
> > I happened to volunteer at a wildlife refuge in Florida for five months
> > where a Bald Eagle had set up a nest and produced young. Although the
> nest
> > was quite high, we roped off the area to prevent disturbing the nest
> site.
> > These birds were quite skittish whenever anyone approached the base of
> the
> > tree. A local member of the Audubon Society objected claiming the birds
> > were not at all disturbed and was subsequently banned from the refuge
> when
> > he ignored the roped off area and had gone so far as to fly a drone
> toward
> > the nest to get video. And this was the local president of an Audubon
> > chapter!
> >
> > It all boils down to using common sense and taking into consideration the
> > particular situation. Just because one raptor nest doesn’t appear to be
> > troubled by human activity, doesn’t necessarily apply to another raptor
> > nest. Great care should be taken when reporting a sighting. If in doubt,
> > don’t report.
> >
> > Tom Sykes
> > Wisbirdn List Owner
> > <sykes...>
> >
> >
> >
> >
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