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Nicholas Block
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I would have no problem counting them for the CBC, but I certainly wouldn't put them on my life list. :-)
Toggle Commented Jul 8, 2013 on Trust and Obey at ABA Blog
I don't think I would count a smelled-only bird because I'd have no proof that the bird that left the smell were still alive. If I had proof of life, I think it would be perfectly acceptable to count it, though. I wouldn't count the felt-only pelican in your example because I'd have no way of knowing what bird it was that actually buzzed me. It was possibly a pelican, but how could I know for sure? :-)
Toggle Commented Jun 28, 2013 on Trust and Obey at ABA Blog
But how would you know it's not a Rose-breasted Grosbeak? They can also smell like maple syrup. ;-)
Toggle Commented Jun 28, 2013 on Trust and Obey at ABA Blog
I'd be pretty surprised if the AOU Committee accepts a new (old?) species without a holotype. Is there a precedent for that? I'm not saying that the Painted Vulture never existed, but without a specimen, it's hard to imagine it being officially accepted.
Toggle Commented Mar 20, 2013 on North America's Oldest New Bird? at ABA Blog
ARGH! This article makes it sound like Novak and/or next-generation sequencing was the first to figure out the phylogenetic relationship of Ectopistes. That is absolutely incorrect. The first paper to identify Patagioenas (the entire genus, not just Band-tailed Pigeon...another incorrect interpretation) as the closest relatives of Ectopistes was: Johnson KP, DH Clayton, JP Dumbacher, and RC Fleischer. 2010. The flight of the Passenger Pigeon: Phylogenetics and biogeographic history of an extinct species. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 57:455-458. The next paper, which confirmed the relationship with Patagioenas, was: Fulton TL, SM Wagner, C Fisher, and B Shapiro. 2012. Nuclear DNA from the extinct Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) confirms a single origin of New World pigeons. Annals of Anatomy 194:52-57. Novak's work hasn't been published yet, as far as I know. It annoys the crap out of me when articles get details like this wrong and don't acknowledge the work that came before. The phylogenetic position of Passenger Pigeon was known before Novak's work with next-gen sequencing. (I'm not knocking Novak's work here, btw, just the article's wording.)
Hi, Chris. This isn't quite correct. If there's enough variation present in microsatellite loci, which they used, you can see genetic clustering in much less than thousands of years. Some studies have actually shown genetic separation (and merger) in only a handful of generations. But I agree that next-generation genomic sequencing is what will be needed to reach a conclusion that people might actually all agree on. These examples of extremely recent speciation are perfect for exploring with next-gen sequencing.
I didn't say that the ABA is only about listing, I just said its origins are linked to listing, so it's unlikely that they would turn around and say that listing is bad. It is absolutely not only about listing; it has evolved and expanded greatly since its origin. I'm not sure what your definition of birding is, but to suggest that the American Birding Association is not "actually about that activity" strikes me as a bit disingenuous. A list of things that the ABA does to promote the birding activity, off the top of my head: Publications like Birding and Winging It, which teach about identification & distribution, have great birding book reviews, keep birders abreast of recent ornithological findings, share great birding adventure stories, etc. etc. Birder's Exchange, which gets binoculars into the hands of less fortunate birders internationally so that they may enjoy birds as well Conventions that bring birders together to share their love for birding with each other Young birder events to help spark the love for birding in new generations And yes, ABA provides listing reports for those birders that enjoy listing and seeing where they rank compared to other birders Part of what makes me proud to be an ABA member is that they have worked hard to adopt a "big tent" when it comes to birding, welcoming anyone and everyone that enjoys birding, birdwatching, or whatever you want to call your interest in birds. I think you'd be missing out by focusing only on the one aspect of the organization you don't like, but that's just my opinion. In fact, I would encourage you to stay and write your own guest blog post about your view of listing and birding! I believe that many, many ABA members would share your views! I do not represent the ABA at all in saying this, but I bet they'd be happy to publish your voice. Again, that's part of what makes me proud to be a member - we all have a voice.
Another amazingly eloquent young birder! Well said, Aspen! "I don't think that playback is going to stop, and as long as it's used responsibly I feel that it should be a personal choice. As others have said, as long as folks are getting into the sport and enjoying themselves, we can't want for too much more." Exactly.
As always when it comes to playback (well, and pretty much anything birding-related), you are spot on, David. Thank you very much for your post. Your last paragraph is part of the point I've been trying to make. Everything we do when birding can be construed as having negative effects on birds; we should strive to pick and choose wisely what approach we take on a case-by-case basis.
Hi again, Nate. Yes, my statement covered a subset of birders, not "birding" as a whole, which is what you claimed was my position. It's hard for me to explicitly say I wouldn't be okay with birding as a whole turning into that subset b/c it's not even a realistic outcome, IMO. There will always be birders like you and me as a part of the pie to balance out the digital twitchers (not that I don't do my share of twitching based on others' reports, too). Who said you were criticizing all new birders or all who twitch? I never got the impression you were doing that at all. Okay, here's my million-dollar question that I'm having a hard time understanding the possible answer to: Why do you feel the need to criticize other birders that are acting well within the ABA's rules? IMO, it's insulting, elitist, and unproductive. (FWIW, I'm not sure this forum is exactly conducive to this debate. I'm happy to correspond with you further backchannel.)
"So apparently Nicholas Block is completely OK with "birding" turning into a bunch of people who know/care nothing about birds, ecology, or conservation" Nate, I don't appreciate it when other people put words in my mouth or assume they know what I am or am not "OK with." Perhaps you could point out where I said I had this viewpoint you're ascribing to me? Your implication that all "bottom feeders" care nothing about birds is also extremely insulting and painting with a gigantic brush. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the point I am trying to make in this discussion about playback use is that as long as a birder is following the ABA's ethical guidelines, we have no right to demand they bird in a different way. If a birder is blatantly not following the ethics guidelines in their playback use, then, by all means, educate them about the guidelines! And if they do it again, then feel free to criticize them! Until then, let the "bottom feeders" continue "scavenging" because their method of birding is well within the rules of "our" pastime (which is their pastime, too). And if you have a problem with those rules, I encourage you to bring it up with the ABA. Your denigrating the birders themselves, when they're doing nothing wrong according to the ABA, will do nothing but cause unnecessary rifts in the community, IMO.
Hi, Leda! Educate away! Yes, some birders might change their approach when provided a different perspective, and that would be awesome. But I believe that many will not because they will still want to increase their lifelist as fast and as easily as possible while adhering to the current ethical guidelines. I'm not saying it's not our place to educate; I'm saying it's not our place to criticize those birders that might continue using judicious and limited playback even after being told about the possible effects. Why not? Because they're following the current ethical guidelines. Also, I wholeheartedly agree that discussions about this are good (as long as we remember where to direct frustrations - the rules, not the rule-followers)! :-)
I don't think I was miscontruing what you said. You called some birders "bottom feeders" or "scavengers," and you just stated that you were criticizing them. That's simply demeaning toward them, and I don't think there's any place for that attitude in a cohesive birding community. As long as they're following the ethical guidelines and rules of the ABA, why is there a need to criticize them? I don't believe it's our business how others find joy in birding. Who cares if they just want to build a lifelist as fast as possible without really learning about the birds themselves? I certainly can't identify with that approach, but I can respect that some people just do things differently. If you and others don't like their approach, then advocate for a rules change (as Chris mentions above), don't criticize the birders. I'm sorry if that comes off as harsh, but you're coming off as arrogant and superior (whether you mean to or not). I think that kind of attitude can only harm the birding/ABA community as a whole. Open minds and big tents work better, IMO.
But perhaps those birders don't really care that they're "dipping on something else." I don't think it's our place to tell them they should bird differently to "really enjoy" the birds. I think a possible analogy is sport fishermen and hunters. Some people pay thousands of dollars to be led to a spot where they can catch a big fish or shoot the big buck, and they have zero fieldcraft or ability to do such a thing on their own. But that's just how they choose to enjoy the activity; they're more interested in the end result...for birders, the tick. But if it brings them joy, then good for them! At least they're finding joy outdoors. :-) As long as they're following the listing rules in their approach to birding, we can always just ignore them if we don't like that approach.
Hi, Chris. Well said! I better understand your take on this now (I hope!). If the ABA rules were to change to say no playback for listing purposes, I honestly would have no real problem with that (I'm used to it b/c the Great Texas Birding Classic has that in their rules)! I guess my main point was that we all just need to follow the same rules in this sport and not be upset when other people bird differently than us while remaining within the rules. Don't hate the player, hate the rules. ;-) It felt like some of this discussion was leaning toward the former, and that's mostly what I took issue with. I really like your sports equipment analogy and think it is quite relevant. However, I would like to point out that playback has always been available to birders, it just hasn't been quite so easy. Should the rules ban all playback, or should we say that only cassette players are allowed? :-) (That was very much meant to be tongue-in-cheek with a smile, not cranky.) As I said, I don't think I would mind a change in rules to say no playback. But as I said to Greg above, we need to be mindful of the possible effects of banning playback. We will always have cheaters that break the listing and ethics rules. Would we rather they use too much playback to see that Black Rail, or go trampling a marsh trying to flush it or make it call? If I had only those two choices, I think I would choose the former. Perhaps a rule change could list specific species for which judicious and limited playback is allowed? Thanks again for your response!
"But I have to wonder why they enjoy it - why not take up geocaching or scavenger hunts and use inanimate objects as the goal of their competition?" Because they find birding and listing fun! Simple as that; there doesn't need to be any other reason. Just because you wouldn't enjoy their approach to birding doesn't mean you need to demean it. "Analog" birders are not superior to "digital" birders (or your "scavengers"), they are just different.
"So next time you're out birding, consider putting in the extra effort to find your target without playback." I agree with the sentiment because it's how I tend to bird. However, there are many scenarios in which that extra effort could easily be considered more intrusive than judicious and limited playback. The best examples involve secretive birds, such as rails and other marsh birds. Using a little playback to elicit a response from secretive marsh birds seems more ethical to me than trampling through said marsh, flushing your target bird and others and possibly damaging habitat. The same goes for any birding in sensitive habitat, where it's extremely important to stay on the trail. Because if you ban playback, you know birders will go off-trail if their target is uncooperative. I'd rather have limited playback allowed in such a situation. So like I said above, I agree with your sentiment, but please consider the possible effects of that "extra effort" as well.
"It's OK to use all the technology you can get your hands on to learn more about where birds are and what they look and sound like, so long as you use that technology according to ABA guidelines." Exactly! Hear, hear, Nick! What an excellent response (the whole thing)! I will never understand why some birders would demean others, as long as we're all adhering to the ethics guidelines. As long as the other birder is adhering to those guidelines, why should you care how they bird or why they bird? That's their business, not yours.
Tim, considering that the ABA was originally founded as an organization for people that enjoy birding as a "competitive sport," I think you'll find it a hard sell to suggest that the ABA adopt the viewpoint that listing is a problem... Again, to each birder their own. We all have a right to enjoy birding however we see fit, as long as we all abide by the code of birding ethics. There will be cheaters in every sport, including birding, but we don't abandon the sport altogether because of the few bad apples.
I think a lot of birders will identify with this post...a LOT. I'm not sure how constructive it is, though. I think we need to respect the fact that each birder birds in their own way, and many things birders do have a "negative impact on birds." Playback, pishing, imitated calls, flushing, consuming lots of fossil fuels on twitches, etc. - these all can have negative impacts on birds. I don't understand why *judicious and limited* playback gets so villainized by some birders. How is it worse than these other things? I rarely use playback myself outside of big day competitions. I don't find it very enjoyable and prefer to have birding experiences more like Chris's solitaire example. But to each their own, I say. Some people prefer to just tick things off on a list as fast as possible, and that's cool. Having said that, people who love playback for getting fast ticks still need to follow the ethics of limited use. Those who don't are the ones who need to be called out, not everyone that chooses to use playback at all.
Hi, Ryan. Your interpretation of the AMOVA results is not correct. The only statistically significant difference in the AMOVA results was between Lesser and Common Redpoll, and only for mtDNA. The 0.0086 value is the FST value for the Common/Hoary microsatellite comparison, not a p-value. Also, the clustering of Linnets and a few redpolls in the STRUCTURE analysis occurred because they used the 'no admixture' model. This is a huge assumption and is the reason most researchers always use the 'admixture' model when doing STRUCTURE analyses. The 'admixture' model analysis supported K=1, meaning there was no significant population clustering among the redpolls. I'm really surprised they didn't show this graphically. To be frank, I think their STRUCTURE analyses of the microsatellites were not conducted well, and the results could have been made much clearer. Your point about incomplete lineage sorting is absolute correct, of course. If redpolls are just very young, incipient species, it's certainly possible for microsatellites to not yet show population clustering. However, in general, microsatellites have an excellent ability to separate populations that are extremely young, and I don't see a strong reason to doubt that there is a large amount of gene flow occurring among the redpoll "species." But perhaps it is speciation with gene flow? This has certainly be shown to occur between young, ecologically distinct species. Maybe that's what is happening with the redpolls. That's where further study in the areas of sympatry is needed (and some next-gen DNA sequencing to go along with it wouldn't hurt). Anyway, I think your main point about Andy's dichotomy being flawed is correct because it doesn't account for incipient species or speciation with gene flow. I prefer the dichotomy presented by the paper's authors: Two major alternative interpretations exist. Either redpolls form a single gene pool with geographical polymorphisms possibly explained by Bergmann’s and Gloger’s rules, or there are separate gene pools of recent origin but with too little time elapsed for genetic differentiation to have evolved in the investigated markers. Future studies should therefore examine whether reproductive isolation mechanisms and barriers to gene flow exist in areas with sympatric breeding. (Although they also don't acknowledge the possibility of speciation with gene flow.)
Just a minor quibble, Kirk. The Townsend's/Hermit example is not comparable to redpolls. Larus gulls are a much better comparison. There are distinct genetic differences between the "pure" populations of Townsend's and Hermit Warblers. The genetics are only mixed up in the genetic "wake" of a hybrid zone that has slowly been moving south. It's pretty clear what's going on with the two species, but we have no idea what the scenario is with the redpolls because we cannot yet discern between panmixia, secondary contact, etc. Thankfully, the redpolls and other complexes of very young species with unclear genetics will be much easier to understand genetically with next-generation DNA sequencing techniques. It's only a matter of time until someone gets the money to look at these groups with this approach...
1. Great Black-backed Gull - large size (in addition to Ali's reasons) 2. see #1 3. Lesser Black-backed Gull, intermedius subspecies (if that's really a valid subspecies and not part of a cline) - smallish size, long wings, clean head, yellow legs, very dark mantle that's about the same shade as the GBBGs 4. Herring Gull - b/c it's Cape May in September and it's not a Ring-billed Gull (in additions to Ali's reason) 5. gull sp. :-)
Denmark, perhaps? :-)
I once asked a former chair of the ethics committee to clarify what the "rare in your local area" meant. I asked because someone was using tape to lure in the Social Flycatcher at Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park in south TX several years ago. I admonished the person for doing so b/c the code says we shouldn't and received an extremely snippy response. Anyway, the chair said the Social Flycatcher case was fine and that the code was not referring to vagrants. That would not have been my interpretation at all, and I need the wording needs to be cleaned up to remove any ambiguity.