[Tweeters] Laser Pointer Comments

cgluckman at aol.com cgluckman at aol.com
Sat Jan 28 13:11:55 PST 2017

Thanks to all Tweeters who replied on and off the site. Here’s a compilation of the comments:

Laser pointers can be useful in pointing out the location of birds under certain conditions (heavy jungle, wooded areas, leafy bushes, etc).
If the pointer allows a group of watchers to decrease their time in a specific location that’s probably of value to the birds and the field trip
The experience is mixed when trying to help people locate birds. All but one said it helped. One commentator said that his experience was that people who had trouble finding birds had trouble with or without the pointer.
There is virtually no reason for individuals to use pointers unless leading a group. Most agreed that there was little chance that individuals birding on their own would benefit from the use of a pointer. In fact, the time it would take to locate a bird with a pointer would be more and add to the time needed to find the bird with binoculars.
The comments were mixed on which color pointer to use. Though most used green ones, the reasons given were based on personal comments and guesses rather than any substantive information. The only one that was clearly substantiated was that most people who are color blind see green (as white) but have trouble with most reds. Strength was given as a reason green was used more but no one really tested this out. One said red was stronger. It probably depends on the power of the unit and not the color.

>From the comments it’s logical that group leaders need to follow some basic rules if they intend to use a pointer: a. use only when the group is having difficulty finding birds (i.e., limit the tech for a better outdoor experience). b. never shine it on the bird (Though no one has read or heard of direct damage to birds, there is no reason to chance it). c. Keep the dot at least a foot from the bird and give directions from there. d. tell group members to leave any pointers they may have in their vehicles - it should be a leader-only tool. d. practice a bit on your own before you go out with a pointer. Become proficient enough you don’t have to stumble around and possibly shine it in a dangerous direction by mistake. e. don’t use it to entice birds to perform acts or act like cats.

Further thoughts?

David Gluckman
Pt. Townsend, WA

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