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Well!  am certainly pleased to see folks eager to contribute 2 cents
worth  (guess all the quarters are in use?)

Having reviewed the string of opinions, I have these
observations/comments:

Yes, disturbance is disturbance.  When I walk out my front door, I
disturb "our front-yard robin."  Sometimes he flies, sometimes he just
gives me a dirty look.  He gets his full retaliation by whitewashing any
vehicle parked in his flight path to the tree on the far side of the
drive.  We try to work with him:  we park at the top of the drive.  It
is a system of mutual respect.  I guess we could quit going out the
front door, but the Carolina Wren would be repeatedly upset by our
walking past its nest.  Or we could just stay inside...

The point is, any action has ramifications.  Reasoned, responsible
action should be everyone's goal.


Did you read Dr. Eddleman's message?  (And did you know his doctoral
research and much subsequent study has been about rails?)  He is
speaking from first hand experience earned from many hours afield.

Did you note that there are more than one kind of vocalization by King
Rails, and that the kek, kek, similar to the quarters is the
vocalization of an unmated male? Therefore, not a disturbance to mated
pair's activities.

Did you note his statement that they respond to any loud noise? (They
then resume their activities--they don't come rushing out to do battle
royal.)

A common thread is advocating refrain from walking into the marsh;
refrain from playing tapes.

Staying in the car, clicking quarters (imitative of unmated males)
causes minimal disturbance.

A birder who cannot countenance even minimal disturbance, a birder who
really believes he/she causes no disturbance by training binoculars,
scope, or camera on a bird, or a birder who thinks there is no
disturbance of "nature" by providing birdseed and water should rethink
the issue.

If no disturbance is tolerable by the bird or by the birder, should we
advocate a moratorium on all avian research--no mist netting, no
banding, no breeding bird survey, no Christmas bird count, no migratory
count, no walks in the park, no...

Watching wildlife specials on TV is occasionally interesting, but it is
a poor substitute for field time.

Let's do our homework before we go afield.  Then we can be confident
that our behavior is correct and responsible relative to the specific
place, species and circumstances.

Darn!  That's certainly 50 cents worth--guess I won't be banging any
quarters together until I earn some more.

Good responsible birding,
Edge Wade
Columbia, MO
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