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Bob Fisher
A slight addition to Missouri Department of Conservation's (MDC's) Wildlife Collector's Permit guidelines should reduce the likelihood of another "Smithville Gull incident" in Missouri. After I made a presentation to its Regulations Committee, MDC added the following paragraph:
"Birds: Collectors should conduct their activities as discreetly as possible so as not to offend or disrupt other users. Prior to collecting any bird that may be of special interest to others, please contact the area manager, regional natural history biologist, or the MDC permit office in Jefferson City."

MDC did not go as far as I asked. (I suggested that state permits exclude birds listed on MBRC's Review List). But its intent is to minimize conflict between collectors and birders by assuring that a high profile bird is the focus of a research project before authorizing its taking. Since accidental birds are, by definition, unexpected, they will rarely be subjects of research projects. Thus, Deputy Director John Smith wrote to me in explaining the guideline: "...[M]ost of the accidental and high-profile birds that are seen in Missouri are not at risk for being collected because there is no research focused on them."

I don't believe MDC will interpret the guideline to restrict the salvage or trapping and releasing of accidental birds.

Unless and until another incident arises, I have gone as far as I intend to go with this issue in Missouri. Hopefully, collectors will henceforth avoid taking rare birds that birders still want to see; birders will not fear to report accidental birds; valuable scientific collecting will go on discreetly, and everyone will live happily ever after.

If anyone wishes to discuss this further with me, please contact me OFF LIST. Please do not post discussion about collecting on the list, as the list owner has forbidden it. 

Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri
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