[Tweeters] Message from Mike Schroeder
kthorburn at msn.com
Mon Apr 15 21:57:55 PDT 2013
WDFW Grouse Biologist Mike Schroeder asked me to post the following message:
For the last several years bird watchers have had the wonderful opportunity to observe the annual rites of spring for the greater sage-grouse from an easily accessible public road in Douglas County, Washington. The counts provided by bird watchers of this lek have provided extremely useful information for monitoring sage-grouse. Unfortunately, a few individuals are threatening the opportunities for everyone by abusing landowner trust and bird-watching etiquette. Blinds have been observed on the lek on repeated occasions this year. Normally a blind would not be a risk to the birds, but the photographers using the blind have, on at least one occasion, exited the blind during the morning display period, flushing the birds off the lek. This is not only disruptive to the birds, but it is discourteous to other people observing the birds from the public road. In a couple cases, the individuals involved may have permission to trespass on private property. However, they do not have permission to disturb the birds. This type of behavior puts relationships with landowners at risk, the same people that these birds depend upon for their survival. One can only reach the conclusion that individuals behaving this way do not care that much about sage-grouse. Please behave responsibly when viewing the lek and please treat landowners with consideration and respect. This lek has been monitored for 42 consecutive years. Irresponsible behavior in the past at other leks has resulted in their extirpation. Most of us would love to have this lek continue to be active and an important opportunity for bird watchers. Mike Schroeder (michael.schroeder at dfw.wa.gov).
Kim Marie Thorburn, MD, MPH
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