I've just been informed of another incident this morning, along Sugar Grove Road, the road that runs along the north side of the University Beef Farm.
This latest is probably a sin of omission, rather than commission. That is, it was probably due to inattention to surroundings other than a strong focus on a search for the Ferruginous Hawk. Nevertheless, intentional or not, I'm relaying the information
because we birders are in serious jeopardy of losing access to other University research farm sites (this could affect Bradford Farm, where there have been some rubs due to people walking in the fields).
Sugar Grove Rd. is a public road. It can have fairly heavy traffic--especially when people are trying to get to/from work. It bisects the University South Farm complex (headquarters area, horse, beef, and swine farms). This morning a birder was creeping
along at 5 mph, looking for the hawk, apparently oblivious to a large farm truck caught behind, unable to pass, for a long stretch.
PLEASE maintain awareness of ALL your surroundings when birding on a public road!
If birder activity continues to cause disruption to people trying to carry out their daily routines in this now sensitive area, we may be paying for insensitivity for a long time to come in the form of being denied access to great birding areas.
This situation goes beyond the immediate. Birders are often considered "a bit odd" by "normal" people. Let's not behave in ways that make the whole birding community look bad and create ill will.
THINK beyond your target bird!