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Old Tuesday 30th January 2007, 11:07   #51
kuksa
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Sorry I did not express my self clearly (got some private comments), english is not my mother language as well :) .
What I meant is that bird-watchers or/and photographers are also not the . Indeed, some of them for the closer look or better photo coming too close to feeders, nests, etc. Multiple bird-watchers and photographers at my feeder often also scaring birds, but that is a little problem in comparison with some reported chasing of warblers by 10 or so bird-watchers and photographers in Sweden.
Finally, is much more easy to control ringers (they can lose license if you report on them) and some of them lose it. However, before just be negative to ringing we must be more critical to ourselves. How often we scaring birds by coming to close? How many die from our activities as driving to bird watching?
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Old Tuesday 30th January 2007, 11:54   #52
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Originally Posted by ESTEBANNIC
Ringers who go after a rare migrant with a net just for the satisfaction of putting a ring on their leg are up there with the trainspotters and should'nt have a license in the first place. If the bird is going to be bothered deliberatly there should be a good scientific reason beforehand.
Which is why is justifiable, if people want to, to raise questions regarding motives and frequency

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I have witnessed people with scopes and cameras walk right through a flamingo colony to get a close up, trampling over unseen plover nests in the process
Deplorable behaviour, but unconnected to the thread which started off asking about the frequency of ringing - one doesn't justify or negate the other, they are completely separate issues

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Lets talk about having or not having cats......
Definately off thread

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Old Tuesday 30th January 2007, 12:08   #53
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Originally Posted by deborah4
Which is why is justifiable, if people want to, to raise questions regarding motives and frequency



Deplorable behaviour, but unconnected to the thread which started off asking about the frequency of ringing - one doesn't justify or negate the other, they are completely separate issues



Definately off thread

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[/quote]

I agree!
It just seems the subject was expanded about ringing in general,but this was something I was very interesting to read- at least for me, as being new to the forum- now noticed how much this subject has been discussed in the past.
The "problem" is, in my personal opinion, that some members make personal comments to others or others take comments as stated towards them. Of course these things are expected to take place in a public debate.
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Old Tuesday 30th January 2007, 13:14   #54
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Just been through this thread - definitely a VERY HOT POTATO. I imagine this will go on and on and I see no problem in it having evolved into a general debate on ringing. I am treading VERY LIGHTLY here, but (as a self confessed anti-ringer) would like to relate three occurrences:

1. Two years ago my wife and I were driving slowly past a ringing station close to home and noticed a female blackbird trapped and her mate, which was free, going ballistic. Margaret (who is very sensitive about things like this) was very upset but I assured her that since it was a ringing day the bird would be released within fifteen minutes or so. When we returned an hour and a half later the female was still there and now the male had also become trapped. I went to investigate and found that there was also a Woodchat Shrike trapped as well as an Azure-winged Magpie which was not only dead but had been there so long that its corpse was totally dessicated (it was a very hot day). I went into the ringing station with both guns blazing to find that the warden was away but was told by an assistant that "no, there are no nets up at the moment". My language was unrepeatable and I had to drag the person to the nets to witness the carnage. Others were brought over to release the birds. If I had not seen this and the nets had been left overnight the damage would have been unbelievable. I did write a very strong letter to the warden and learned that the person responsible for putting up the nets had "forgotten they were there, and gone home". If I had taken photos and pursued the matter I am sure ringing licenses would have gone out of the window; I didn't because these people are friends and neighbours of mine, but I think they are being a bit more careful now.

2. Last year, within a flock of 17 Black-tailed Godwits, one individual had no less than five large brightly-coloured (yellow, green, red, etc) plastic rings on its legs (I have photos of this bird but cannot lay my hands on them at this minute). I watched this bird twice a day for three days and noticed that it was being ostracized by its fellow species and also being aggressively attacked by some Pied Avocets. There seemed to be no other reason for this behaviour other than the "gaudy jewelry" which the godwit was wearing. Over the three days it became progressively weaker (it seemed to spend more time defending itself than feeding) and my last sighting was of it being pecked to death by two Black-winged Stilts. I had hoped to recover the corpse the next day when the water level was lower but I believe that a fox took it.

3. Last November a friend of mine discovered Portugal's first Moussier's Redstart near Cape St Vincent and two days later I was able to take some good photos of this cracking bird (one of which appeared in Birding World 239). I posted these on my blog http://www.algarvebirder.blogspot.com/ and as a result quite a few people got to know about the bird and came to see it. It has been a long stayer and, as far as I know, is still there. Unfortunately, I also posted it on the Portuguese Yahoo newsgroup "Raridades" and gave specific details of its location. I took a friend (someone quite influential in the Portuguese birding fraternity) to see the the bird two days later and on speaking to some Brits (who actually live in France but were on holiday in Spain when they saw the post on my blog so came especially for this bird) learned that the previous day a large group of Portuguese ringers had descended with posts, mist nets, etc. and had attempted to trap the bird. The scene they described was pretty bad, with 150 metres of net erected and about 20 people crashing through the scrub shouting and beating with sticks. I cannot mention names but my friend immediately got on the phone to appropriate people and I now know that ringing licenses have been revoked. There was no scientific merit whatsoever in trapping and ringing this bird (which they did not manage to do) - these people were trophy hunters.

There are, no doubt, a lot of good and well-intentioned ringers who adhere to the code of conduct and are producing good scientific data. There are also a lot of mediocre ringers who are in it just for the sport as well as some demented idiots who's only "buzz" in life is to have the little feathered beauties in their trembling, sweaty hands. And, to the poster above who said that birds are never ringed twice, this is just not true. I have witnessed one woman literally salivating with pleasure as she proudly told me that this was the third ring she had put on a Robin in two days.

Just my viewpoint, and my experiences.

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Old Tuesday 30th January 2007, 13:43   #55
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Shocking experiences..!

The last one I didn;t get right: why would she do that? Did she remove a ring to add anew one?
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Old Tuesday 30th January 2007, 13:59   #56
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Originally Posted by egalinou
Shocking experiences..!

The last one I didn;t get right: why would she do that? Did she remove a ring to add anew one?
As far as I know this Robin had had three rings put on. It is very common here to see birds with several rings; the most I have seen was a Greater Flamingo with seven which probably didn't impede it too much, but I have recently seen a Bluethroat with two rings on one leg and one on the other. Apart from the trauma of being trapped and ringed three times there is the life-long legacy of these bits of metal been attached to the bird's legs.

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Old Tuesday 30th January 2007, 14:01   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin Key
As far as I know this Robin had had three rings put on. It is very common here to see birds with several rings; the most I have seen was a Greater Flamingo with seven which probably didn't impede it too much, but I have recently seen a Bluethroat with two rings on one leg and one on the other. Apart from the trauma of being trapped and ringed three times there is the life-long legacy of these bits of metal been attached to the bird's legs.

Colin
sorry to ask again, but metal rings? This (and of course the rest...) is totally against ringing codes...
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Old Tuesday 30th January 2007, 14:07   #58
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sorry to ask again, but metal rings?
Yes, I believe that metal (presumably aluminium?) rings are the only type you can put onto passerines.

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Old Tuesday 30th January 2007, 14:26   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin Key
Yes, I believe that metal (presumably aluminium?) rings are the only type you can put onto passerines.

Colin
There are other types also http://www.achughes.com/Thumbnails.html
It is strange that of all the terrible experiences you have described I got stuck with the robin story.The ringer would have to report three rings for the same bird and this can not have been the case.Maybe they were plastic rings all put during one trapping effort, to individually identify the bird in the field afterwards,without having to capture it again.
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Old Tuesday 30th January 2007, 14:41   #60
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Originally Posted by egalinou
There are other types also http://www.achughes.com/Thumbnails.html
It is strange that of all the terrible experiences you have described I got stuck with the robin story.The ringer would have to report three rings for the same bird and this can not have been the case.Maybe they were plastic rings all put during one trapping effort, to individually identify the bird in the field afterwards,without having to capture it again.
Actually this is really a message to JohnZ. See what you started? Finally here the situation has gone completely away from your main point. You meet good and bad in all walks of life, but I still haven't met anyone bad enough to fit 3 metal rings on the same bird and I've been ringing for over 36 years! Photographers, Birdwatchers, Twitchers, Mr and Mrs Grumpies I love you all!
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Old Tuesday 30th January 2007, 15:57   #61
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Yes it was a case in Soviet time (15 years ago)!!! Additional ring was placed if bird was marked not in Soviet Union. It might be that some countries do that until now. However, nowadays is not a case in most of countries. Several (color) rings used just for individual marking and placed at once. I believe you misunderstood the case.
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Old Tuesday 30th January 2007, 16:37   #62
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Actually this is really a message to JohnZ. See what you started? Finally here the situation has gone completely away from your main point. You meet good and bad in all walks of life, but I still haven't met anyone bad enough to fit 3 metal rings on the same bird and I've been ringing for over 36 years! Photographers, Birdwatchers, Twitchers, Mr and Mrs Grumpies I love you all!
Although JohnZ started this thread I do not think he can be accused of starting this debate on ringing ethics which has gone on for a very long time. There will never be any full agreement between ringers, non-ringers and in-betweens but the subject still deserves airing.

As I said, I am treading very lightly here because I realise that this is a very sensitive issue. My three scenarios related above may well be extreme examples but they are fact and I am sure anyone would be able to appreciate how they have coloured my vision regarding ringing.

I would tend to side with Keith Reeder in his comment that it is the motives of some ringers which are questionable. I have seen good ringers at work getting on with a scientific job and doing it very well. I have also had experience of the other end of the spectrum; itinerant volunteers who travel to ringing stations purely and simply to get their hands on birds with little or no care for the scientific value of what they were doing but simply wanting to increase their "net tick" list. I can actually think of a small number of these people who actually had little interest in birding or bird watching, they just got their pleasure from the feel of the birds in their hands.

As people have stated above, every aspect of life has its good and bad points and bird ringing is no exception.
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Old Tuesday 30th January 2007, 17:58   #63
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I'm probably out of my depth a little here, (and should keep well out, not really having any strong opinions on it ), but could there be some situations caused by the way ringing works. Not done my research, but isn't it the case that to move up the 'ringing ladder', progressing from apprentice to 'c' class to to proper ringer you have to ring so many thousands of birds?

Of course this may be to ensure that the ringer was experienced and adept at safely ringing and handling birds, but surely this could lead to situations where groups/individuals go a little too much 'all out' to ring as many birds as possible (and in the easiest way), and could lead to some bad practises? And of course getting better or 'rarer' species would be good for their progression too?

(apololgies if I've got that all wrong)
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Old Tuesday 30th January 2007, 18:05   #64
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And of course getting better or 'rarer' species would be good for their progression too?
Precisely, it is just like birding, except that they want to fondle them rather than just look at them in their natural environment.
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Old Tuesday 30th January 2007, 18:48   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dantheman
Not done my research, but isn't it the case that to move up the 'ringing ladder', progressing from apprentice to 'c' class to to proper ringer you have to ring so many thousands of birds?

Of course this may be to ensure that the ringer was experienced and adept at safely ringing and handling birds, but surely this could lead to situations where groups/individuals go a little too much 'all out' to ring as many birds as possible (and in the easiest way), and could lead to some bad practises? And of course getting better or 'rarer' species would be good for their progression too?
I can see where you're coming from with this Dan, but there's a couple of reasons why these situations shouldn't cause problems as described... though I'm not saying that they don't in occasional situations.

There is no direct correlation between number of birds ringed and 'promotion' - although guidelines for minimum number of birds are given in the BTO Ringers' Manual, it is heavily stressed that these are not absolute, and are far from the only criteria. The way it is worded suggests that an individual should be promoted when they are sufficiently competent (and that having ringed a certain number of individuals is only likely to be one possible indicator of this competence). If people are promoted purely on grounds of the number of birds handled (and no-one's provided a shred of evidence to say it is), then I'm pretty confident that the BTO would take a very dim view. Similarly, no-one should be trapping the same bird day in, day out, and adding extra rings each time, so this isn't a valid or permissible shortcut to promotion either.

Secondly, and more strongly, the manual presents rules about when it is and isn't acceptable to actively seek to ring a rarity whose presence is already known. In general, I'm fairly sure it's not permitted, unless there is a strong scientific reason for doing so (the minute probability that the bird will be retrapped elsewhere and thus provide data is not sufficient). This means that the appalling situation Colin described with the Moussiers Redstart should definitely not occur, and ringers' licences being revoked is appropriate - it's just an enormous shame it ever came to that.

[By the way, I'm not a qualified, or even a trainee ringer - so I'm not necessarily best placed to comment, and may have misremembered the above. Apologies if this is the case, please let me know.]

I guess what I'm trying to say is that although the population of ringers probably does have the usual small percentage of 'bad apples', as does any group, there are strict controlling guidelines in place. If people feel that those guidelines are not being adequately enforced (or even that they're not appropriate), then the best course of action is surely to take the issue up first with the ringer(s) concerned, and then if necessary with the BTO or equivalent organisation.

I'm sure that many / all of these organisations are acutely aware that they have got a delicate PR situation to manage (for instance, the BTO manual stresses the need to allay the concerns of non-ringers). This means that where things are questioned, or have gone wrong, they ought to be doubly keen to sort them out - this will ultimately make the valuable scientific studies they conduct better supported.

Anyway, just my 2p...
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Old Tuesday 30th January 2007, 19:29   #66
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There is no direct correlation between number of birds ringed and 'promotion' - although guidelines for minimum number of birds are given in the BTO Ringers' Manual, it is heavily stressed that these are not absolute, and are far from the only criteria. The way it is worded suggests that an individual should be promoted when they are sufficiently competent (and that having ringed a certain number of individuals is only likely to be one possible indicator of this competence).
Some sensible words David, but the fact remains that "quantity and quality" (of birds trapped) counts an awful lot to a ringer's progression through the ranks. I know three people who have recently been to Greece, Equador and Israel quite simply to boost their "productivity" with a view to having their licenses upgraded.

I only wish that these people would, like me, put all their efforts into conservation before there are no more birds to ring.

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Old Tuesday 30th January 2007, 20:14   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin Key
I know three people who have recently been to Greece, Equador and Israel quite simply to boost their "productivity" with a view to having their licenses upgraded.
Interesting point: but is there actually anything wrong with that per se, though?

Provided that they abide by the usual ringers' guidelines, then this seems like a sensible way to learn about ringing a range of different species and thus develop your skills - certainly far better than ringing more frequently and potentially stressing birds in the UK, or chasing rarities to ring in the UK. Plus I would imagine that the quantity of ringing going on the countries you mention is relatively small, so there is actually an opportunity to further some scientific study, which could be used to focus the conservation efforts that you mention?
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Old Tuesday 30th January 2007, 20:35   #68
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Interesting point: but is there actually anything wrong with that per se,though?

Provided that they abide by the usual ringers' guidelines, then this seems like a sensible way to learn about ringing a range of different species and thus develop your skills - certainly far better than ringing more frequently and potentially stressing birds in the UK, or chasing rarities to ring in the UK. Plus I would imagine that the quantity of ringing going on the countries you mention is relatively small, so there is actually an opportunity to further some scientific study, which could be used to focus the conservation efforts that you mention?
David,

Yes, I do think that that there is something very wrong here. The guy who is going to Ecquador has admitted that his main purpose is to increase his "net tick" list of hummingbirds. He will return with a list of exotic "hand held" species (plus photos) and not really give a toss about the scientific merit of what he has being doing or what the results of his ringing will produce.

I find this very depressing, especially as it is done in the name of "science".

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Old Tuesday 30th January 2007, 22:39   #69
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Black Wheatear, Perhaps I should remind you of my original question which was about the frequency of the ringing at Bough Beech. I have started absolutely nothing as far as I am concerned.
During this thread I have had the patronising post from Estebannic otherwise known as Spanish Steve who having signed a post Steve I had assumed, obviously wrongly, may be an ex-pat. I can only apologise to Steve as I did not realise that this was a name commonly in use in Spain.
We then went through a phase of everybody having a pop at deborah4 who, I suspect, was trying to get me out of the mire that my thread was very quickly descending in to. "Extreme ignorance" springs to mind.
And now finally we have had some posts from Colin who appears to know a little bit about ringing, maybe even a lot ! Hopefully some of the earlier posters will now return and try and disprove some of that which Colin has so eloquently explained.
dbradnum, "Certainly far better than ringing more frequently and potentially stressing birds in the U.K.". In my ignorance I thought it had already been explained, in this thread, that there was minimal stress involved and that birds were intelligent creatures and would avoid the nets. I also thought that ringing on a CES meant turning up fortnightly. Perhaps I misunderstood.
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Old Wednesday 31st January 2007, 06:20   #70
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Originally Posted by Colin Key
Some sensible words David, but the fact remains that "quantity and quality" (of birds trapped) counts an awful lot to a ringer's progression through the ranks. I know three people who have recently been to Greece, Equador and Israel quite simply to boost their "productivity" with a view to having their licenses upgraded.

I only wish that these people would, like me, put all their efforts into conservation before there are no more birds to ring.

Colin
Many birders visit other countries and participate in certain projects while having as motivation the new species they are going to see/ring. In Greece we depend on an important part of our activity on the help foreigh ringers are willing to give. Of course they are not allowed to ring on their own. On the contrary, they participate in certain ringing programms with certain scientific goals and always supervised if not A ringers. THere is an organisation here- as in every country (the Hellenic Bird Ringing Center) responsible to organize/ coordinate ringing in Greece, reporting and supervised by Euring. Not being able to know what everyone has deep in his/her mind the fact is that these people eventually work on a demanding and tyring daily programme, often in not the most favourable conditions (e.g. accomodation etc) and always under the essential conditions for proper and safe ringing.
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Old Wednesday 31st January 2007, 08:42   #71
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Many birders visit other countries and participate in certain projects while having as motivation the new species they are going to see/ring. In Greece we depend on an important part of our activity on the help foreigh ringers are willing to give. Of course they are not allowed to ring on their own. On the contrary, they participate in certain ringing programms with certain scientific goals and always supervised if not A ringers. THere is an organisation here- as in every country (the Hellenic Bird Ringing Center) responsible to organize/ coordinate ringing in Greece, reporting and supervised by Euring. Not being able to know what everyone has deep in his/her mind the fact is that these people eventually work on a demanding and tyring daily programme, often in not the most favourable conditions (e.g. accomodation etc) and always under the essential conditions for proper and safe ringing.
I am certainly not attempting to tar every ringer with the same brush as I know that a lot of them are well intentioned people with a professional attitude and approach. I am just putting forward my personal views with some examples to show why I hold those views. I do indeed know some people (and they are friends, not casual acquaintances or arch enemies) who travel to ringing centres for the "tick and the kick" with little regard or interest in the scientific value of their endeavour.

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Old Wednesday 31st January 2007, 10:29   #72
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I used the term loosly: .
Maybe you should have made that clear? If you use a term, I'm bound to think that's the term you mean...

Quote:
Originally Posted by deborah4
I don't know the ins and outs about how the schemes are financed .
Note to JohnZ, this is what I mean by extreme ignorance. Deborah4 admits she knows nothing about it, yet still convolutes an imaginary scenario by which she damns those involved. Why not ask, and then make judgement, rather than make judgement on something you've plucked out of the air?

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the survival of the scheme depends on 'doing business' with volunteers. If it wasn't for volunteers paying for training and for accommodation, wouldn't the 'business' collapse? The point is, there is a 'business' interest at stake here, and it's in the vested interests of those that run the Scheme that enough volunteers are paying to support it (or providing services for nothing). .
If you think this through, it quickly unravels. The participants effectively finance the course on a 'costs only' basis. Everyone else is volunteering time and paying their own costs. The accommodation is provided by observatories etc on a costs only basis too. So, there is no business to collapse, as the courses have no running costs unless there are students present. It's a bit like 'pay as you go'. If there are no students then there is no course, and it costs the BTO nothing. If there *are* students, they pay the costs and it STILL costs the BTO nothing, but ALSO they receive nothing. So where is the vested business interest, if it costs or profits the BTO zero in all scenarios?

If you want to know how these things work, then please ask before guessing. Then make up your mind. Mark Grantham or other ringers will be happy to tell you - it's all completely transparent.
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Old Wednesday 31st January 2007, 10:37   #73
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I am certainly not attempting to tar every ringer with the same brush as I know that a lot of them are well intentioned people with a professional attitude and approach. I am just putting forward my personal views with some examples to show why I hold those views. I do indeed know some people (and they are friends, not casual acquaintances or arch enemies) who travel to ringing centres for the "tick and the kick" with little regard or interest in the scientific value of their endeavour.

Colin
I think, the problem is (as some one already pointed), that some people directly becoming negative to all ringers after reading notes about some outliers, and it frustrating. I think everyone will agree, that similar outliers present in people with different hobbies or professions.
Back to JohnZ question Nr.1.: it might be, that frequency of ringing in that place is to high and related to human factor (willing to spend every free day (weekend) with birds as you do with your hobby - photography), therefore, can be discussed with ringers directly and I believe solution will be found. However, I do not think, that high (1 day per week in this case) frequency of ringing have much bigger negative affect on birds at the feeder as every day bird-watching from the close distance assuming multiple number of bird-watchers also adding even close lock of photographers. By observing birds at my feeder, I can assure that some bird species land on my feeder just if there are no people around. I don’t see difference in their come back after people disappear or after I marked (I ring them once/month) them.
Short comment: bird-watchers observe birds at my feeder from about 15-20 m., photographers 10-15 J, number of observers is approximately 3/day staying 10-30min.
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Old Wednesday 31st January 2007, 10:51   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poecile
Maybe you should have made that clear? If you use a term, I'm bound to think that's the term you mean...



Note to JohnZ, this is what I mean by extreme ignorance. Deborah4 admits she knows nothing about it, yet still convolutes an imaginary scenario by which she damns those involved. Why not ask, and then make judgement, rather than make judgement on something you've plucked out of the air?

I'm not going to address yet further insult to me on this thread Poecile and trreat it with the contempt it deserves. As for the issues, I think you've probably articulated the concerns previously far more eloquently that I can

Quote:
''But if Finnish ringing is anything like British ringing, then you'll know that it's not as easy as that, as the scheme will be controlled by a very few people who have apparent ultimate authority, and many of the ringers will exist in a small community where dissent is not welcome and is easily expelled to preserve their interests. The few in authority are also totally reliant on the ringing community, as they are volunteers who provide data [work] for nothing and also pay for the priviledge, keeping the scheme afloat and those in authority in a job. So there appears very little scope for changing things.
Quote:

Having said that, Jurek, I think this debate should be reviewed and revisited periodically. My opinion has changed a little over time. Ringing itself, and perhaps ringers, does seem to have changed a little. Or perhaps ringing and ringers haven't kept pace with the changes in knowledge and what we need ringing for. I'm quite uncomfortable with the ringing of rarities, for instance, and there is a definite 'twitching' element that is creeping into ringing - those tallying extraction ticks and ringing ticks, even handling ticks, for instance. It's totally unnecesaary and not what the UK ringing scheme was set up for. I've seen a ringer chasing a knackered rarity with a hand-held net. To me, that's unethical - ringing the thing would tell you nothing useful about such a vagrant, it will only serve to distress it for no purpose than it's rarity value and place on some anorak's list. And this was at an observatory, where it was seen as nothing unusual. Just look at the 'trophy photos' you get on many ringing websites too. It reminds me of the sort of thing you see in angling or shooting magazines, of proud hunters showing off their impressive quarry.

Routine opportunistic ringing of migrants at observatories is also becoming questionable in some instances, in my opinion. It should be more targetted for specific population studies, not just an ad-hoc "let's go to e.g. Holme and stick some nets up and ring whatever falls in", which is what visiting ringers do. It's never standardised. And when this involves exhausted Goldcrests there doesn't seem a lot of point - we know where they go and where they come from and there are clear welfare issues. Ringing does carry a mortality rate. Yes, many eg goldcrests can be chucked, and nets closed if they're very light or the weather bad, but such ad-hoc and opportunistic ringing of migrants needs greater control and targetting for a clear purpose, I think. CES and RAS ringing is different, and far more defensible. Indeed, it's vital if we're to understand bird populations. But the BTO needs to get a firm grip of the ringing scheme and redefine its purpose and aims more clearly as, in my opinion, ringing is becoming more passtime and less science.
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Old Wednesday 31st January 2007, 11:00   #75
deborah4
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This is a good debate and there are obviously issues to be discussed and concerns to be aired. However, I will not make a further contribution to a debate that has resulted in launching of personal attacks or bullying in order to silence those issues being raised. Its childish and infantile and does no credit whatsoever to those who have an alternative perspective to others.
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