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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 07:45   #1
mark clements
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Code of Conduct

From a post in bird id forum, to a keen, new border, based solely on a humorous one liner at the end of his ID query, and got me considering how I treat the Code of Conduct

You might like to consider the Code of Conduct in future:

Five things to remember:
•avoid disturbing birds and their habitats – the birds’ interests should always come first
• be an ambassador for birdwatching
• know the law and the rules for visiting the countryside, and follow them
• send your sightings to the County Bird Recorder and record them on www.birdtrack.net
• Think about the interests of wildlife and local people before passing on news of a rare bird, especially during the breeding season.


Do I always treat the code as LAW, or as a good guide?
Bullet 1 - I always do this
Bullet 2- I rarely dish out foil wrapped hazelnut chocolate balls. As I don't understand the bullet. I help people, but I don't evangelize or tell anyone how to birdwatch. I advise as to hide etiquette, and how not to break the law. Other than this its up to them.
Bullet 3- this is a requirement for everyone, not just birdwatchers
Bullet 4- up to me if I do or not. I do not like birdtrack .net so why use it?
Bullet 5- always think of others.

I think its a guide, not the law, but some people seem to think its a law.

What are your views?
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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 07:53   #2
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Where is this code from, anyway? Is there a sort of birders' association that formulates these things?


Quote:
Originally Posted by hwinbermuda View Post
Bullet 2- I rarely dish out foil wrapped hazelnut chocolate balls. As I don't understand the bullet. I help people, but I don't evangelize or tell anyone how to birdwatch. I advise as to hide etiquette, and how not to break the law. Other than this its up to them.
Same here. The point seems a bit awkwardly phrased.


Quote:
Bullet 4- up to me if I do or not. I do not like birdtrack .net so why use it?
Neither do I. Occasionally unse ornitho, though. Also, the country I live in doesn't have counties.
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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 08:11   #3
Phil Andrews
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The Birdwatchers Code has been produced / sanctioned by a variety of bodies / companies including the RSPB, WWT, BTO, BOU, SOC, British Birds, Birdwatching, RBA, Birdguides and Birdwatch.

It clearly isn't law but does reflect some aspects of legislation eg Points 1 and 5 and the Wildlife & Countryside Act regarding the protection of specific species.

You can interpret point 2 in a number of ways - I always take it to explain to others about birds, to act in a way thatbfoesnt bring the hobby into disrepute (eg don't block a public footpath with a tripod, park in an inconsiderate manner, tut at newbies' questions / misidentifications etc)
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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 09:32   #4
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Point 2: present wildlife (not just birds) as a good thing; explain that predating things does not make raptors bad, everything eats something; answer all questions without sarcasm; encourage interest, e.g. by telling people where they can see the one thing they say is their great ambition, etc. Make time for people and meet their needs sums it up.

There's no mention of the country code (or countryside code) in this post but birders should follow that too, it explicitly deals with not parking across farm gates and suchlike.

As for records, birding and wildlife are my hobby. I don't like admin (too much at work!) and don't feel the need to get involved with recorders. However, as a service-using twitcher I always submit worthy news to RBA. I wouldn't reveal a sensitive breeder, but I wouldn't conceal a single bird in e.g. coastal habitat during migration and use that as an excuse.

Mind you, such finds haven't arisen exactly frequently....

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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 09:34   #5
Fat Paul Scholes
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re bullet 4. If you like, and therefore value birds, you should contribute your data to those who wish to conserve them. You are right, it's up to you - but why wouldn't you want to make your birding count for birds and other people, as well as yourself?
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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 12:41   #6
mark clements
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Originally Posted by Fat Paul Scholes View Post
re bullet 4. If you like, and therefore value birds, you should contribute your data to those who wish to conserve them. You are right, it's up to you - but why wouldn't you want to make your birding count for birds and other people, as well as yourself?
I like and value birds, I am not tied to statistical recording, often only noting unusual or rare birds, for my interest.

I don't twitch, and have had disturbingly pompous reactions on other forums for suggesting a black kite in my home region, not where I am now. It's a bird with which I am very familiar from regular trips to Europe, visiting raptor hotspots for years, and decided not to share so much in the future. I am not a competitive birder, and genuinely beieve I have seen huge harm to habitat from people going blindly for life ticks.

And I also go out without binoculars most weeks, as I revel in BIRDLIFE not statistics.
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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 12:52   #7
Fat Paul Scholes
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It’s not about statistics - it’s about conservation, and you can do that, and revel in BirdLife at the same time.
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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 14:07   #8
mark clements
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Marketing 4 is

• send your sightings to the County Bird Recorder and record them on www.birdtrack.net

Presented as a 'must do' , both the bird recorder and birdtrack record statistics.

Others may use the stats for analysis, for conservation, migration, number counts or whatever, neither is specifically a conservation body, but data collectors.

I am happy for anyone to send their stats to data collectors, but choose not to, personally.

I do support some conservation bodies, and am happy for them to use data from whatever source helps.

Some bodies want me to perform a FULL WATCH OF THE LOCATION, so my incomplete meanderings would skew their stats anyhow.
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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 14:09   #9
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I do not follow all of it. Some aspects of it reflect inbuilt prejudice and some the reinforcement of institutions and approaches which I feel should change. It is also impossible to follow within my normal birding.

All the best
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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 14:19   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fat Paul Scholes View Post
It’s not about statistics - it’s about conservation, and you can do that, and revel in BirdLife at the same time.
Well put and I agree completely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hwinbermuda View Post

Others may use the stats for analysis, for conservation, migration, number counts or whatever, neither is specifically a conservation body, but data collectors.

I am happy for anyone to send their stats to data collectors, but choose not to, personally.

I do support some conservation bodies, and am happy for them to use data from whatever source helps.
Doesn't sound like you are exactly overjoyed that people collect data - there would be NO conservation with no data. Of course we are all entitled to enjoy nature how we like with no obligations but to almost belittle folk who arduously collect data that you benefit from every time you open a bird book or search online is a disgrace.
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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 14:28   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Wates View Post
Well put and I agree completely.

Doesn't sound like you are exactly overjoyed that people collect data - there would be NO conservation with no data. Of course we are all entitled to enjoy nature how we like with no obligations but to almost belittle folk who arduously collect data that you benefit from every time you open a bird book or search online is a disgrace.
Simon

This seems your reading of the comments rather than the comments themselves to me. It doesn't seem like belittling to me and it certainly falls short of the disgrace level!

All the best
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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 14:45   #12
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Originally Posted by Simon Wates View Post
Well put and I agree completely.



Doesn't sound like you are exactly overjoyed that people collect data - there would be NO conservation with no data. Of course we are all entitled to enjoy nature how we like with no obligations but to almost belittle folk who arduously collect data that you benefit from every time you open a bird book or search online is a disgrace.
Not at all, I just say that I don't, and others, new to bird watching (and more prone to make mistakes in identifying) should not be made to feel obliged to arduously collect data.

I like to birdwatch, I dont want my birdwatching to be overly arduous, or cause me concern that I could not record ever species in an area in ten to twenty minutes, nor worrying that I am listing a vagrant or an escapee, or how many generations of pheasants it takes for them to be cat A. BUT i know that many others enjoy that, and through Bird Forum, I can vicariously enjoy their enjoyment, without telling them they are doing it right or doing it wrong, but to feel some sense of happiness that they are doing it.

I have never totted up my life list, but have visited well over 100 countries on all continents but Antarctica, so would hazard a guess its well into four figures, but I am still overjoyed at the sight of a Bullfing in my garden. I know that my way is not the way everyone else does it, but as someone that finds it easy to become obsessive, I deliberately put parameters around it, and respect everyone else's right to do so, as well.

Kudos to the people that are conserving but I do not 'belittle' nor am I a 'disgrace'.

Judge not, lest...
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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 14:47   #13
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Originally Posted by Paul Chapman View Post
Simon

This seems your reading of the comments rather than the comments themselves to me. It doesn't seem like belittling to me and it certainly falls short of the disgrace level!

All the best
thank you Paul, I had not seen your succinct, and frankly, better worded response, prior to mine.

Harry

(Still might leave mine there tho)
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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 14:56   #14
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I have long said, that it is not a natural thing for birders to reach the conclusion that birds (especially rare birds) must be recorded. Who as a young birder starting out thinks "I hope I find a rarity so I can spend ages writing up a report of it?"

Invariably the thought must be pushed on them, and this thread encapsulates that well. In general, the modern birdtrack/ebird, log as you go type platforms aren't the worst, and clearly can be used for benefit of birds, but if, like me, you don't feel like using them, then don't let anyone pressure you to do so.

Enjoy birding in your own way, whatever way suits you.

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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 14:56   #15
Fat Paul Scholes
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Just to let you know that you don’t have to arduously record everything for your data to be of value. It’s more useful if you do - but it can still be useful if you don’t. And although obviously it’s better if there aren’t any, a few mistakes aren’t going to rock the boat either.
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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 15:08   #16
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Originally Posted by Fat Paul Scholes View Post
Just to let you know that you don’t have to arduously record everything for your data to be of value. It’s more useful if you do - but it can still be useful if you don’t. And although obviously it’s better if there aren’t any, a few mistakes aren’t going to rock the boat either.
It's still a hobby and if you don't enjoy the recording side of it, don't do it. Better an ambassador for wildlife who doesn't record than someone lost to birding because of the nause of recording.

And for those who do it and seem to feel unappreciated (or does the existence of happy birders who don't record make them feel insecure?)

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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 15:35   #17
Fat Paul Scholes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farnboro John View Post
It's still a hobby and if you don't enjoy the recording side of it, don't do it. Better an ambassador for wildlife who doesn't record than someone lost to birding because of the nause of recording.

And for those who do it and seem to feel unappreciated (or does the existence of happy birders who don't record make them feel insecure?)

John
Completely agree - just suggesting to the OP that some of the reasons he gives for not recording may be misconceptions. If he simply doesn't want to, that's his choice.
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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 16:07   #18
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Just for those that have picked up the reins:
@ Pariah - exactly my feelings
@ John - Could not agree more including the applause
@ Mark - ref original post - my comment for bullet 4 "Bullet 4- up to me if I do or not. I do not like birdtrack .net so why use it?" NOT that no-one should, nor that I have not tried, I've been birdwatching for over 50 years, and know that others enjoy doing it other ways than I do.

A note on conservation, I cannot envisage ever driving hundreds of miles, flying overseas or hiring a boat or plane to get a tick, so really I may just be helping conservation in other ways, that SOME (not all) users of couny recorders and bitdtrack (amongst others) may not be.

H
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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 17:22   #19
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i know from responses i have had in the past before i took birdwatching more seriously, that if people outside of the 'hobby' discuss it, often the perception is of weird nerdy people that once would have worn anoraks and watched trains ... and if you read wikipedia the conclusion is that birding is the step after bird watching and twitching next after that, each step more refined and regulated and moving away from simpler pleasure.

this is said to reflect a male systemic replacement for hunting, a need for organisation and structure and even a pseudo scientific status gained similar to the acceptable 'gentleman' explorers and scientists of the 19th century.
yeah well take a pinch of salt or six but the participation in the main is white, male, relatively well off UK, Scandinavia and USA east coast types ... so it could even be racial, genetic!

both extremes have justification of course. i see the main need is to accept louts such as me watching through the french doors as much as the serious pedants who could be called a bit 'anal' and obsesed. it us very simple, we can agree to disagree but if as a whole we dont start becoming activists and putting pressure on MPs and the like, there soon wont be any bloody birds left! it is getting that serious. 80% of insects gone? how many species extinct in 50 yrs? 3500 trees cut down in Sheffield? daily carnage.

soon we will have 2 mile queues of polite gentlemen with 2000 quid binis and 2000 quid dslrs waiting to twitch the last surviving sparrow.

tick or not, report or not, what should, could we bird likers, lovers or interesters do next? argue?

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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 17:39   #20
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Do my best to follow the code, but haven't used BirdTrack for a few years as discovered better (for me) alternatives to submit data, like GoingBirding etc. Most recent reason for not using BirdTrack is that I'd rather use 6+ figure grid references than stick to 1km squares as that's more useful to the local record centres who also make good use of our data and most sites or fields are smaller that! Personally enjoy noting down what I see and sharing (when appropriate) with others, so makes sense to also submit the records for use in conservation, planning etc.
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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 19:14   #21
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Not at all, I just say that I don't, and others, new to bird watching (and more prone to make mistakes in identifying) should not be made to feel obliged to arduously collect data.

I like to birdwatch, I dont want my birdwatching to be overly arduous, or cause me concern that I could not record ever species in an area in ten to twenty minutes, nor worrying that I am listing a vagrant or an escapee, or how many generations of pheasants it takes for them to be cat A. BUT i know that many others enjoy that, and through Bird Forum, I can vicariously enjoy their enjoyment, without telling them they are doing it right or doing it wrong, but to feel some sense of happiness that they are doing it.

I have never totted up my life list, but have visited well over 100 countries on all continents but Antarctica, so would hazard a guess its well into four figures, but I am still overjoyed at the sight of a Bullfing in my garden. I know that my way is not the way everyone else does it, but as someone that finds it easy to become obsessive, I deliberately put parameters around it, and respect everyone else's right to do so, as well.

Kudos to the people that are conserving but I do not 'belittle' nor am I a 'disgrace'.

Judge not, lest...
I was far too hard on my comments - I think it was a bit of the grumpy old man syndrome creeping in. I think what got me antagonistic (and for that I'm dearly sorry!) is the fact that at the moment I keep seeing loads of photos (most poor) of adult birds stressed out near the nest with comments by the taker of the "pretty bird" kind. It really gets my gripe when I see the abundance of photos like these, where folk really just want to be thought of as a "nature photographer sort of expert kinda person" who obviously know Jack sh*t about sensitivity in the field and are totally immersed in there own image.

Bottom line, should have kept my mouth shut - sorry again!

On the code of conduct - all sound advice to me and I think its a great thing to encourage citizen science, though I agree that no-one should be made to feel guilty if they don't participate.
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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 19:22   #22
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@ Simon


Re. "Bottom line, should have kept my mouth shut - sorry again!" No need to apologize to me, and you've helped lead an interesting debate, of the grown-up kind that is missing from much of life.

We both love birds, the countryside and, I'd guess, being on Bird forum. That's three points in common.

We disagree over a 'flavour' of the code. No biggie.
Thank you for keeping my brain active today.

Harry
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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 19:38   #23
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Simon

This seems your reading of the comments rather than the comments themselves to me. It doesn't seem like belittling to me and it certainly falls short of the disgrace level!

All the best
True Paul - wobbly moment of mine, thanks
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Old Sunday 17th June 2018, 21:58   #24
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True Paul - wobbly moment of mine, thanks
We all have them. Me more than most!

The whole citizen science, wholesale data collection thing is quite interesting. I favour it though have seen what I feel are masking of population trends and declines in some moth species due to misidentifications and have been surprised to find maybe 1 in 30 bird species misidentified in ebird quizzes based on Europe. (Of course the latter may simply be upload errors. Certainly, my buzzard photo uploaded as a cormorant was! )

All the best
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Old Monday 18th June 2018, 07:11   #25
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Code of Conduct here https://www.bto.org/sites/default/fi...health/bwc.pdf

Alert Distance and Flight Initiation Distance (AD/FID) in birds varies according to species type, time of year, weather, availability of food, source of disturbance and health of the individual bird(s). Tolerance to disturbance will also vary according to above. Eg flushing waders off mudflats in the middle of winter will have a greater gap between AD and FID than likewise at the end of summer but potentially cause a higher impact. Flushing Stone Curlew or Lapwing off scrapes with eggs or chicks puts both at possibly immediate risk from corvid predation if there is already a corvid presence in area (and ‘chill’ if raining) but flushing a Snipe from long grass in December won’t have the same impact. Disturbance of Short-eared or Long-eared Owl roosts during the day will have a higher detrimental effect in winter during the day than in summer just before sundown, potentially causing them to desert a favored roost site to an area that may be less productive in winter food prey. Disturbance of larger raptors early on in the breeding season (ie mating, incubation and brooding) will have a higher impact than if disturbed with young.

In other words, know your birds, in particular, their feeding and nesting behaviour, be sensitive to signs of AD for each species and be mindful of the time of year.

I’m particularly wound up on this, this morning, following an evening of misting and ringing Nightjar. A young student photographer joined us (with permission) and spent nearly ten minutes photographing days old chicks on the ground with adults flushed off using flash and from inches away. The female was not on the chicks when flushed and spend time away from the scrape anyway, it was still light so the flash not causing harm, and it was all professionally supervised. What annoyed me was his reluctance to stop when I felt enough time had elapsed, his complete prioritisation for getting photos (more than record shots) and complete lack of apparent interest in the science of what we were doing. What concerns me is this attitude will follow him into areas where he is not supervised as he gets older. Im afraid he felt my bristling even though I said little!
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