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Would you count a bird on a camera trap as genuine tick? (1 Viewer)

MJB

Well-known member
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!
MJB
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Poland
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.
 

keith

Well-known member
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.
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
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.
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
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).

Do Birdtrack/Ebird etc allow for dead birds to be 'recorded'?

To be honest, the average person will find very few dead birds whilst out in the field on any one occasion, year even.

In the real world 'tickability' isn't such an awful concept on that basis, surely?
 

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
Agree that 'heard-only' can be just as valid as seeing birds - if not more so...a nightingale wouldn't seem like such a special bird if it sounded like a great tit, would it?
That said, I don't count 'heard-onlys' towards numbers on my life / year lists, but that is personal preference, as for me it is a list of birds I've seen. Equally, I don't count unidentifiable glimpses of birds confirmed on the basis of song or other people's ID.
Although not counting towards totals, I do record 'heard-onlys' on my lists, including songs I don't know that are pointed out by competent guides or other birders (I'm thinking of a pale-chinned blue flycatcher at Chitwan back in '89 here...). This must be common to many birders, as Scythebill provides this option. I also agree with jurek that sometimes its best to just enjoy the song / call, rather than causing unnecessary disturbance.
I think most birders understand perfectly well the difference between the personal experience of seeing and hearing birds and scientific / biological recording. There is absolutely nothing odd about wanting to see and enjoy a new bird, but if you're carrying out a breeding bird survey then counting the numbers singing is way more important. Equally, camera traps are valuable tools in biological recording, especially for species which tend to be shy and elusive, but in this case you have very clearly not experienced it yourself. To answer another hypothetical question, in the admittedly unlikely event of 'camera-trapping' a thylacine, I'd have no hesitation in sharing and claiming credit for my discovery. In those circumstances, I suspect the camera-trap evidence would also carry more weight than my personal account illustrated with a blurry photo through the trees.
 

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