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Subject:My Request Reply
From:Michael Hendrickson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Michael Hendrickson <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 3 Nov 2011 15:00:25 -0700
Content-Type:text/plain

Spent the day at NRRI listening to 6
hours of power point discussions on a various topics related to applying
herbicides and fertilizers on turf and landscape areas.  I sat and listen to a half hour power point
discussion on how to choose the right pair of rubber gloves!  So while listening to these fantastic
presentations I was able to read a lot of replies to my posting I made on the
MOU listserv regarding giving out exact owl locations on the net.
First lets be very clear about one
major item, I never made one comment about NOT posting owls on the MOU
listserv. I made a request to MOU listserv subscribers of refraining to not
post exact locations where that owl was seen.  If you see a wintering owl post the county, township or what park it was
located but refrain from giving GPS coordinates or mileages or where on the
trail you saw the owl.  Again I never
asked anyone to stop sharing owl sightings in your posts to the MOU
listserv.

I read replies about “what about rare
bird sightings” and how it’s a double standard by me or birders in general to
one but not the other.  This is a
ridiculous statement!  First of all,
accidental birds found in Minnesota are mostly found in residential yards, lands
under management, state parks, sewage ponds or on large lakes.  These places are in controlled environments.  Meaning the home owner has set up guidelines
for birders/photographers to follow on their property and the same goes for
parks, managed properties and sewage ponds.  Accidental birds found on lakes have very little disturbance from the
birders because these birds are seen from shore.  Also in the last week there were several good
species found and like most accidental sightings these birds moved on very
quickly.  Tropical/Couche’s Kingbird was
sighted for about 8-10 minutes tops and only two observers, Scissor-tailed
Flycatcher was seen on private land but viewable from a public road and that
bird was seen 5 times in two days and the Scott’s Oriole was found in the Grand
Marais neighborhood and that bird was seen for 30-40 minutes by 15 people or
so.  Majority of accidental/casual bird
sightings in Minnesota are found in controlled locations where
birders/photographers have to follow guideline set up by the homeowner and property
managers. 

 
The Northern Saw Whet Owl found by
Paul Egeland in his yard was in a controlled environment where photographers
and birders kept a good distance from the owl as to not scare it off his
property and I am sure Paul had some guideline as to where to walk and approach
the owl in his yard.  This does not happen
in Sax-Zim Bog nor other locations in northern Minnesota.

I assume correctly that the MOU
electronic committee who over sees the MOU listserv request to all MOU listserv
subscribers to NOT post roosting owl locations and Bob Russell explained
reasons for that in his post today.  Also
Jim Ryan is dead on for my reason as to why I am asking this request.  Thanks Jim for the great reply! 


Then I read about the Whooping Crane
in relation about sharing rare bird sightings on the MOU listserv. Yes the
crane was reported on the listserv and the original post tells people where to
find the exact field it was foraging in and everyone was happy until some
photographer was seen in the field despite posting about guidelines on how to
approach the crane.  Regardless if the
person knew or did not know about the rarity or the guidelines the bird was approached
in a fashion that went against the wills of Crane Foundations in S. Dakota and
Wisconsin.  I made a request that in the
future that all Whooping Crane sightings be omitted ( like nest sites or
roosting sites topics ) from the listserv and all observations should instead
be sent to one of these foundations and people sent in links on how to find
them.

So back to winter owl postings and
locations, I have reasons and one of these reason is this (http://www.naturescapes.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=207189&fb_source=message)  This owl photographed by a regular contributor
to the MOU website “Showcase” mentioned he baited this owl to achieve that
photo.  There is no laws against baiting
but it’s a controversial topic.  Some
photographers bait and others do not.  This owl was photographed last year in Sax-Zim Bog as stated.  This owl was baited numerous times by many
photographers. I got a report from a friend who gotten some information from good sources that in one afternoon sitting some photographers threw
out 50 mice to this particular Northern Hawk Owl to achieve many flight photos or perched shots. This owl was reported to
me many times on how tolerant and habituated it was towards people.  I myself  noticed on how this particular Northern Hawk Owl would consistently
follow me and my group of birders on a path in the bog.  This not only happen to me but I got emails
from people saying this owl was acting very domesticated.  This owl did not need to be baited because it was easily approachable without all the baiting it received all winter season.  This is what happens when owls are continuously
baited by overzealous photographers.  Ok
I expect to hear this “well what is the difference between setting up bird feeders to
feed songbirds and tossing mice to owls?”  Well IF there was not an issue with feeding owls live mice then why doesn’t
Wild Bird Store or Wild Birds Unlimited Stores offer hopper feeders that can
hold mice. That way you can buy that hopper feeder and load it with live mice
to feed the owls!  This sounds ridiculous
because comparing baiting owls to backyard feeding is ridiculous! There are
some photographers who toss fish on the ice to attract Bald Eagles.  Should we now develop along with the new  hopper owl
feeder some new fish tossing equipment to feed eagles too? In my opinion baiting owls
is just plain wrong and tossing fish on ice to attract eagles is also wrong as well.


Also Jim Ryan was correct in his post there are
many lurkers who do not share the same values as we do about owls or about
birds in general.  They are using MOU
subscribers like hunting dogs.. we find the subject they are looking for and we
announce where exactly they can find it and off they go with mice in the cages,
fake mice lures and fishing poles, axes and hand saws to make perches.  I experience it and witness this a few times
and I am not going to share my owl exact locations on the MOU listserv. The
unknown is out there and I am not going to take risks.  Yes it would be nice if birders could police
ourselves and photographers do the same amongst their peers but it is not
happening and bad stuff happens when no one is looking. 
 
Well I said enough about this topic.
Do what you want because I know what I am not doing.
 
Good birding all
 
Mike
 
Mike Hendrickson
Duluth, Minnesota


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