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Subject:Re: Owls and People
From:Laura Erickson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Laura Erickson <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 9 Feb 2010 12:59:11 -0500

Many people are growing increasingly concerned about posting the whereabouts
of rarities because of the existence of ethically-challenged birders. The
Cornell Lab of Ornithology's eBird depends on reports from birders to have
sound, widespread data on bird numbers and distribution, but with iPhone
apps and google tools that give birders instant alerts about the whereabouts
of birds reported to eBird, inordinate pressure has been focused on some
rarities, especially owls. Yesterday, eBird posted their own strategies to
encourage birders to use eBird without this kind of pressure. It's posted

Best, Laura Erickson

Ithaca, NY (but more at home in Duluth, MN)

On Tue, Feb 9, 2010 at 12:21 PM, James Griffin <> wrote:

>     The problem of posting owl and raptor locations is not new in the
> birding community. I started birding when I lived on Eastern Long Island,
> N.Y.. As a new young, enthusiastic birder I spent untold hours cruising Dune
> Rd. and other beach locations searching for Snowy and Saw-whet Owls. I was
> lucky enough to find a Saw-whet in some cedars near Jones Beach. I
> immediately notified members of my Audubon group(Moriches Bay). Since this
> took place in the pre internet days(early 80's) I called the local RBA and
> gave directions to the bird. I had no reservations about doing this since I
> had used this source to observe many staked out rarities. I went back, with
> several friends, the following afternoon. To my amazement someone had
> decided to drastically prune the tree that the bird was still roosting in,
> obviously to facilitate a photo. I couldn't believe my eyes. Since that day
> I have always struggled with the decision to post locations. Ultimately, I
> decided to continue communicating with my fellow birders. I have to believe
> that the people who abuse this info are the small minority. It is clearly a
> difficult(and personal) decision but as I said I had some very memorable
> experiences using info from RBA's and I feel a need to return the favor
> whenever possible. Good Birding to all.
>     Jim
> _________________________________________________________________
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Laura Erickson
Science Editor
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850

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