[Tweeters] Great Miserable Stakeouts I have known

Ed Newbold ednewbold1 at yahoo.com
Sun Mar 20 21:51:24 PDT 2022


Hi all,


Sorry for the length of this post.


Today I talked to a resident of one of the houses impactedby the Bluetail stakeout and I’d like to pass on his displeasure in the role ofhis advocate.

But first I want to salute everyone who took part in the Great-Miserable-Lake-Forest-Park-BluetailStakeout over the last several days.

Every time we go stand somewhere in the public domain andlet our love for the Earth’s precious Creatures be known, we are doing acelestially-important and good and wonderful thing.  We must never feel guilty about birding and neverfeel guilty about traveling to go birding. I would argue that we must ignorethe carbon-counters who would have us stop driving to see (and thus proclaim tothe world our love of) birds.

(Not that I am not in terror over climate change. But wejust installed a heat pump. We did not do this out of guilt or shame but thrillover the improvements it would bring to our lives. This is a crucialdifference.)

Economists struggled for over a century to understand whywater and air, and other things we need to survive, are less valuable to usthan gold, which only has a few actual uses in our lives. Eventually theconcept of marginal utility was discovered: What is the value of one more unitabove and beyond the ones you already have?

The value of one-more-unit of Red-flanked Bluetail might notseem that great if you bird regularly East of the Ural Mountains, but inWashington it is through-the-roof and we made that known in these last few days.Many of us were very disappointed to walk away “empty-handed.”

Although we dipped, Delia and I got to see our FOY Band-tailsand hear Varied Thrush sing. We met the discoverer of the Bluetail, Nancy, wholeft us in awe. She knows how to get Madronas to grow in her yard like weedsand was the founder of an organization that promoted organic gardening, back inthe day when this wasn’t the no-brainer it is today, thanks in no small part toher. Oh, and she’s really nice!

We met many wonderful neighbors. One woman and her daughterstopped their car at the stakeout and I immediately began apologizing for thedisruption to the neighborhood when they interrupted me to insist upon leaving 9cartons of Girl Scout Cookies to thank us because they were so happy and gratefulto us because we were celebrating this wonderful bird in their neighborhood. There were many neighbors who struck this tone.

We also got to talk to a few of our birder friends and meetmore, friendships we value highly with people we mostly only see at stakeouts.

But I also talked to a resident who wasn’t at all happy and waswanting to know when the end-game was.  BecauseI was attempting to represent us all (which I don’t) I tried to promise himwhat I could, which was not much. But I am asking everyone to be perfect empathists,to see it all from his point of view as well as ours.

Delia and I have been hosts to a stakeout, the 2019 BeaconHill TEWA stakeout, which was similar in two ways to this: It was cold, and manypeople went away empty-handed.

When you are a participant, you don’t realize that a host,regardless of whether they are an avid birder or not, wants you to see the birdand may feel worse than you do when you don’t. We suffered on the days when peopledidn’t see the little Tennessee Warbler, and second-guess some of our own actions to this day.

We are birders and this is the kind of thing we live for,but we did in some way experience the sense of something coming in and takingover our lives and preventing us from going about our business and--we didn't feel this in our case, but we could see how we could feel our privacy is being stolen.
It was all pleasant for us, but had we notbeen birders, or people who weren’t already predisposed in birding’s favor, wecould see how it could easily have been an incredible annoyance.
This is a recurring problem. I’ve tossed over in my headmany times if there could be a simple way something could be done to ameliorateit. I’ve considered the idea of trying to collect money from the participants, but it neverseems like it could work and not backfire in some way. If there were a moderatelyexpensive gift that would with certainty be appreciated, that might be perfect.But gifts fail a majority of the time anyway. One person’s wonderful bottle ofexpensive wine is another person’s insinuation that they are an alcoholic.There is no gift that I can think of that would work for everyone.

The only thing I think we can all do is never, never, bepartisans on our own side. We have an ace, that this is a public street, but weshould never play that ace. A Northern Hawk Owl died in Havilah as a directresult of a stakeout, and a Caracara in Darrington may have also died from stakeout-fatigue, I don’tbelieve anyone but the landowner knows. Playing our ace in either situationwould have only hastened these bird's tragic deaths.

So in lieu of any good ideas, I just want to put in my pleato everyone to mentally “take the side” of the people in the houses andneighborhoods that we descend on, for their sake, our sake and the bird’s sake.  I know most people already do but I feel Imust make this public plea as something I owe this neighbor and anyone else whoselife I impacted the last two days. (As we first tried to park, another neighborregistered their extreme displeasure also.)


With that said, it was wonderful to see you all yesterdayand today at the Great Miserable, and good luck to anyone who tries tomorrow while sending as many good vibes as possible to a wonderful--and in some cases, suffering-- nieghborhood!!!


-Ed Newbold ednewbold1 at yahoo.comBeacon Hill, Seattle

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