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Date:         Wed, 17 Apr 2002 17:41:47 -0400
Reply-To:     Brad_Bergstrom <bergstrm@VALDOSTA.EDU>
Sender:       Georgia Birders Online <GABO-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From:         Brad_Bergstrom <bergstrm@VALDOSTA.EDU>
Subject:      Re: Alternative forums
In-Reply-To:  <005101c1e639$8fd4d920$18d7b83f@6kn3101>
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII

On Wed, 17 Apr 2002, Russ Wigh wrote:

> B. Commentary about backyard birds is valuable information to many of > us, but this is the wrong place for it.

I would partly agree and partly disagree; whether or not the sighting occurs in someone's backyard is, to a certain extent, artificial. If you have an Evening Grosbeak, Bronzed Cowbird, or Broad-billed Hummingbird in your backyard and are kind enough to share the information with GABO subscribers, I can think of no more appropriate post to this list than that! Even a Purple Finch or Baltimore Oriole that is a "stake-out" feeder bird might be of interest to people working on a year list or state/county list to come and see.

I like to be tolerant of beginning birders and remember back to the days when I was excited to see my first Brown Thrasher, Red-headed Woodpecker, etc. (I can't quite relate, because I was a small child then). But it is, admittedly, a little tiresome to read a series of such posts about one's "life" Eastern Towhee, or how many cardinals or Carolina Wrens one saw in the backyard today (unless it was a truly spectacular number that was noteworthy). FOY reports of returning neotrops, especially if they are, indeed, the season's first for the area, should be welcomed, whether from someone's backyard or elsewhere; such phenology data can actually be quite useful scientifically.

Interesting, rare behaviors, disease outbreaks, etc., are often observed by feeder watchers, simply because that venue greatly enhances the observation time.

Although the daily reports of feeder birds are a sleeper, frankly, I get just as tired reading a list of names of 11 people who saw the same rare bird (and even a 12th who looked and failed during the middle of the above week-long activity) on an RBA report (OK, I admit I'm biased there, as I happen to possess a 13th name that inexplicably did not make the list of "honorable mentions!"). Or, reading about a Killdeer or Cattle Egret on the "Rare" Bird Alert, just because it happens to show up at a place where apparently every bird is "important" (e.g. the regional sewage treatment facility).

What about the exhaustive trip reports (including even the common species in their lists) posted by good birders, which take up a great deal more bandwith than Bud 'n Ethels backyard report? Heck, what about this rambling missive itself? There's a lot of diversity on this list. Seems if we're going to tolerate certain people's idiosyncracies, we should be prepared to be egalitarian in our tolerance. Use the delete key; nobody will know.

Brad ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Brad Bergstrom, Ph.D., Professor TEL 229-333-5770 /-5759 Department of Biology FAX 229-245-6585 Valdosta State University e-mail: bergstrm@valdosta.edu Valdosta, GA 31698-0015 Home: 229-333-0743 Home Page-- http://www.valdosta.edu/~bergstrm/ ----------------------------------------------------------------------------


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