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Would you count a bird on a camera trap as genuine tick?

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Old Thursday 20th December 2018, 16:40   #1
YuShan
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Would you count a bird on a camera trap as genuine tick?

OK, this is a purely hypothetical question. But I'm wondering.

Suppose you catch some rare bird on a cameratrap that you have installed yourself, resulting in a photograph or video footage of this bird, while you haven't actually seen the bird with your own eyes. Would you then count this as a 'tick' on your lifelist? After all, you have photographed/ filmed it.

And a similar question. Suppose you have installed a CCTV camera somewhere and you are watching it live on a screen at night from the comfort of your home. Some rare owl appears. You see it live on your screen but not directly because the owl and camera are a mile away from you. Lifelist tick?

Just a mindfart that I had today
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Old Thursday 20th December 2018, 16:54   #2
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First case - it would go on your site list, but not your personal list. There's a reserve somewhere in Scotland which has White's Thrush from a camera trap which no-one saw


Related topic: Greater Spotted Eagle is on the national lists of 3 African countries, but hasn't been seen in any of them. Data from a satellite tagged bird
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Old Thursday 20th December 2018, 16:58   #3
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It's a find but not a tick, at least in my book.
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Old Thursday 20th December 2018, 17:09   #4
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No, you have to be present and see the creature with your own eyes. So viewing through binoculars, spotting scope and camera is acceptable to most, but a trail camera; not to me. It's almost the same ( for me anyway ) with night time recorders that capture bird flight calls or digital sonographs.
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Old Thursday 20th December 2018, 17:40   #5
Steve Lister
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No on all counts. You have not seen the bird.

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Old Thursday 20th December 2018, 20:39   #6
MJB
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Originally Posted by YuShan View Post
OK, this is a purely hypothetical question. But I'm wondering.

Suppose you catch some rare bird on a cameratrap that you have installed yourself, resulting in a photograph or video footage of this bird, while you haven't actually seen the bird with your own eyes. Would you then count this as a 'tick' on your lifelist? After all, you have photographed/ filmed it.

And a similar question. Suppose you have installed a CCTV camera somewhere and you are watching it live on a screen at night from the comfort of your home. Some rare owl appears. You see it live on your screen but not directly because the owl and camera are a mile away from you. Lifelist tick?

Just a mindfart that I had today
As a result of dataloggers or other electronic tags on birds, a number of species have been accepted on some countries' national list even though they were never seen or photographed. It's evidence, but not in any way we've considered before...

The birds exist and were present....
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Old Thursday 20th December 2018, 20:52   #7
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Originally Posted by MJB View Post
As a result of dataloggers or other electronic tags on birds, a number of species have been accepted on some countries' national list even though they were never seen or photographed. It's evidence, but not in any way we've considered before...

The birds exist and were present....
MJB
It's good evidence, but it'd feel weird to put them on a life list. A life list isn't about science after all, it's about personally experiencing animals.
That said, if you're involved in camera trapping, it's probably a nice idea to keep a list of camera trap sightings or other evidence of the kind.
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Old Friday 21st December 2018, 09:26   #8
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Thumbs up

Good to read that some things in the birding world are still real
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Old Friday 21st December 2018, 10:07   #9
mark clements
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I'd feel it was like seeing them through someone elses eyes... so by extrapolation could I include something that another birder videod in the vicinity, and showed me?
Suddenly I feel a very long life list coming on, as I go through the gallery, opus and TV tabs.

BUT that is just my view, its up to you what you're content in putting on your lists.
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Old Friday 21st December 2018, 10:50   #10
YuShan
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I would certainly not count the finds in the opening post and it looks like everybody here agrees with that, fortunately.

However, I am often surprised by what some people DO count. "Heard only" is one such thing. That would make birding in the jungle a lot easier!

Another thing is people during bird tours who count birds they haven't seen at all. Their guide has found a bird and the whole group ticks it off, although perhaps only one person it the group has actually seen it. I've never been on a bird tour myself (I always bird alone without guides) but more than one guide that I met has told me in private that this is what often happens.

What I also find questionable is when people tick off a bird that they HAVE seen, but they haven't seen any of the features of the bird (let alone identified it) but their guide told them it is this or that bird so they tick it off and be done with it. Can you really claim to have seen something because your guide says so?
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Old Friday 21st December 2018, 14:10   #11
Gill Osborne
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What I also find questionable is when people tick off a bird that they HAVE seen, but they haven't seen any of the features of the bird (let alone identified it) but their guide told them it is this or that bird so they tick it off and be done with it. Can you really claim to have seen something because your guide says so?
I couldn't count that as a tick TBH. I'm very strict about what is on my list and as far as I'm concerned if I'm told a bird is such-and-such but I cannot get a good enough look which would enable me to identify the bird if I were out in the field on my own then it doesn't count I was once shown a Temminck's Stint at Cresswell Pond but just as I just got my eye on it (through the guy's scope) it flew up and away and I just got a brief blurry view of it's back end. Same a couple of years ago when I was shown a Barred Warbler on Holy Island. All I saw was a brief fly-by as it dashed from one hawthorn shrub to the next. Neither species are on my Life List.

I certainly couldn't tick a bird seen on a trail camera.....it would be like watching one of David Attenborough's programmes and just ticking off whatever you saw on the tv!
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Old Friday 21st December 2018, 14:53   #12
Sangahyando
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Originally Posted by YuShan View Post
However, I am often surprised by what some people DO count. "Heard only" is one such thing. That would make birding in the jungle a lot easier!
Well, as far as I'm concerned, "heard only" counts if I can be reasonably certain that the source is indeed a wild bird of the correct species and not a recording or an imitator. Of course, every one of my "heard only" ticks comes with a note displaying said status.


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Another thing is people during bird tours who count birds they haven't seen at all. Their guide has found a bird and the whole group ticks it off, although perhaps only one person it the group has actually seen it. I've never been on a bird tour myself (I always bird alone without guides) but more than one guide that I met has told me in private that this is what often happens.
Yeah that's strange. Haven't been on a birding tour yet, but when making a group list, I'm careful to attribute observations to their actual observers, unless they've been made by all members of the groups.


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What I also find questionable is when people tick off a bird that they HAVE seen, but they haven't seen any of the features of the bird (let alone identified it) but their guide told them it is this or that bird so they tick it off and be done with it. Can you really claim to have seen something because your guide says so?
It's an unsatisfactory tick but I'd count it, as long as I don't have reason to doubt the competence of the guide. The good thing about listing software such as Scythebill is that it allows for detailed comments on each observation, including a note about relying on others for ID...
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Old Friday 21st December 2018, 17:18   #13
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This thread does highlight what I see as a rather odd obsession among birders for ticking/listing according to arbitrary 'rules', as opposed to biological recording which I would say is considerably more useful. E.g. birds (or other species) identified as heard only, from specimens found dead, from camera traps or from sound recordings can all provide valuable biological records, whereas ticking a bird that's already been identified by someone else doesn't contribute much at all.
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Old Friday 21st December 2018, 18:40   #14
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This thread does highlight what I see as a rather odd obsession among birders for ticking/listing according to arbitrary 'rules', as opposed to biological recording which I would say is considerably more useful. E.g. birds (or other species) identified as heard only, from specimens found dead, from camera traps or from sound recordings can all provide valuable biological records,
Like I said, it's not about science, but personal goals. Most birders aren't scientists and their contributions to biology are more of a by-product of the hobby. Therefore I think you're missing the point. The word "life list" implies "(live) birds that I've observed in my life".


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whereas ticking a bird that's already been identified by someone else doesn't contribute much at all.
Well, there are those who only count "self-found birds". But that's not very scientific either, it's just a way of making birding more difficult for yourself.
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Old Friday 21st December 2018, 19:26   #15
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Like I said, it's not about science, but personal goals. Most birders aren't scientists and their contributions to biology are more of a by-product of the hobby. Therefore I think you're missing the point. The word "life list" implies "(live) birds that I've observed in my life".
I'm not missing the point at all - I know perfectly well what 'life list' means. I just think the obsessive focus on 'tickability' is odd when 'recordability' seems like an equally valid personal goal, and one that produces more of a wider benefit.

Birders not being 'scientists' has nothing to do with it - those with good ID skills are perfectly able to make good scientific records (even more so in less well-studied taxonomic groups, where amateur involvement makes a very important contribution).
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Old Friday 21st December 2018, 23:14   #16
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However, I am often surprised by what some people DO count. "Heard only" is one such thing. That would make birding in the jungle a lot easier!
The only option of course for blind birders - may strike one as an odd hobby, but there are some, and their hearing skills are superlative
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Old Saturday 22nd December 2018, 09:55   #17
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Yes, it's an interesting one. I've never got this thing with a lot of birders where the importance of the sense of sight is elevated so far above that of hearing. Having said that, it I happen to hear a scarce/interesting bird I do make an effort to see it and, if I manage to do so, the experience is of course way more satisfying as a whole.

Re the original question: I agree with Nutcracker in post #2. If I somehow managed to record a rare species on my patch whilst being totally oblivious to it at the time, it wouldn't get on my life list but would definitely be going on the site list. The fact that something had occurred there would to me be more important than whether or not I'd personally happened to see it.

Last edited by davpen : Saturday 22nd December 2018 at 10:06.
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Old Saturday 22nd December 2018, 10:56   #18
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Yeah that's strange. Haven't been on a birding tour yet, but when making a group list, I'm careful to attribute observations to their actual observers, unless they've been made by all members of the groups.
This happens on pelagics too - the 'list' becomes everyones sightings (depending on your rules!).
I do not have Broad-billed Prion on my list because although I saw most of the prions flying around the boat that particular day, and with it being quite distinctive (for a prion!) I could not say with certainty I saw it.

My list includes anything I've positively identified myself. If I've seen or heard first person and (regardless whether someone else saw / heard first) and am confident with the ID then it's on my list. The heard species are noted as such, and in an ideal world I'll have another crack at seeing the bird proper at some point. But I wouldn't want the memory of Bourke's Parrots flying over in the darkness in the desert, or the calls of Short-tailed Antthrush through the forests of Misiones erased from my memory.

The first person bit rules out birds seen on camera traps / CCTV / remote sound recorders though!
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Old Saturday 29th December 2018, 17:10   #19
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I cleaned my list of birds I considered tickable when I was inexperienced but I would not positively identify if I saw them exactly like that now. Some I am yet to find again, supporting the idea that they were misidentified in the first place. Others I have satisfactorily identified in the meantime.

Yes, I regularly report common birds that are "heard only" that were heard in their normal habitat at appropriate time of year, in a place where there is no danger of playback or mimicking birds. One example is the Nightingale. It is skulky, brown, keeps inside dense bushes, and none of our mimics will repeat the full nightingale song.
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Old Saturday 29th December 2018, 19:44   #20
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I recently saw a Red Kite reflection clearly in a second storey window in front of me, but on turning round could not see the bird as it was too low for a direct line of sight. Was talking to a colleague at the time so couldn't change position. Got me thinking if that reflection was any different to using angled scopes or bins with prisms...

...decided the line of sight meant it was different.
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Old Monday 31st December 2018, 15:04   #21
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I recently saw a Red Kite reflection clearly in a second storey window in front of me, but on turning round could not see the bird as it was too low for a direct line of sight. Was talking to a colleague at the time so couldn't change position. Got me thinking if that reflection was any different to using angled scopes or bins with prisms...

...decided the line of sight meant it was different.
Going off at a tangent, would a marsupial enthusiast watching a live trailcam in Tasmania tick the first appearance of a Thylacine on-screen, or would the enthusiast be so scrupulous that he would suppress the news until he's actually tracked one down? On that note of enquiry, Happy New Year!
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Old Wednesday 2nd January 2019, 07:13   #22
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No on all counts. You have not seen the bird.
Username checks out... I'd say somebody with the name Lister is the authority on this
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Old Wednesday 2nd January 2019, 13:24   #23
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I am surprised with there being reservations to "heard only" birds to be honest. If anything, ticking birds on sound alone should be heavily encouraged to avoid pushing people into attempting to actually see them at all cost, in particular for night birds. I have just come from a trip where I heard the Desert Tawny Owl, clear as a recording and I am 100% sure it was this species. It is now on my list and I am probably never going there again to see it, in part because I am aware that my presence in the area during the night, however discreet, puts a small but unnecessary pressure on a range-restricted species.
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Old Wednesday 2nd January 2019, 16:59   #24
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I am surprised with there being reservations to "heard only" birds to be honest. If anything, ticking birds on sound alone should be heavily encouraged to avoid pushing people into attempting to actually see them at all cost, in particular for night birds. I have just come from a trip where I heard the Desert Tawny Owl, clear as a recording and I am 100% sure it was this species. It is now on my list and I am probably never going there again to see it, in part because I am aware that my presence in the area during the night, however discreet, puts a small but unnecessary pressure on a range-restricted species.
There should be a ' like ' button for that response.
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Old Wednesday 2nd January 2019, 17:48   #25
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Thnk it's been discussed before, but hearing is just as valid as seeing, if the individual is happy to add to a list as such. After all, it's one of the 5 senses we all have. Just that some prefer to 'see' because our brains work well with that. Don't realistically think many would tick many live birds on 'taste' however.
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