[Tweeters] Code of Ethics

Greg Pluth gjpluth at gmail.com
Tue Jan 21 14:19:08 PST 2020

Dear concerned and thoughtful Tweeters -

I am entering the discussion on the ethical use of recorded bird sounds in
the field, especially to merely determine if a given species is nearby.

So many of us do not have the ''credentials" of the seasoned, talented, and
learned birders and ornithologists who contribute to the benefit of all of
us with their well-considered opinions. That said, I believe everyone of us
can have a thoughtful question and/or opinion of value.

While I have the greatest respect for those individuals who stipulate for
the ABA Code of Ethics, I do no know who they are and how they gain that
lofty position. I know I can do some research to learn those things, but
more importantly, it would be more difficult to learn what discussion they
have had that moves them to decide what is ethical and why. I have heard
that pishing can be unethical because generally it disrupts the nearby
birds from their normal activity. It seems to me that "normal" includes
high-alert. Use of the word "harassment" frankly makes me wonder if how
much care is taken not to anthropomorphize. Birds are naturally on
high-alert even when they appear calm. Yes, in large bird gatherings I
might anthropomorphize and say they are more relaxed because they have
their friends and neighbors to keep an eye or ear out. I've read that if
say, twenty mallards are overnight roosting on a log, the ones on the ends
sleep with one eye open - literally. Clearly, throwing a rock into the
water nearby is harassment and it does bother me to see folks chasing, or
letting their dogs chase shorebirds feeding at the beach. But what studies
have been undertaken to discern how the birds are physically affected by
hearing their own voice? Indigestion? Shorter life-span? I do jest a bit,
but when instructing as to ethical behavior, I look for rational support.
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