Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Birding's Dirty Secret

Playback.

It's the steroids of birding. It used to be that only specialists knew about its advantages, and few had access to the recordings and/or equipment needed to utilize playback as a method in the field. Now every Tom, Dick and Harry has an iPhone with the ability to broadcast the vocalizations of every North American species.

Virginia Rail walking out into the open for no reason at all

I won't bother to tell any stories; we all have tales about the abuses we have witnessed. It is a direct consequence of making something so readily available. It is easy to feel righteous indignation towards other people who use playback, and it's also easy to rationalize our own uses of it.

"I never used playback" - Roger Clemens

Playback is occasionally beneficial for wildlife management. For example, a combination of playback and decoys was used to attract and re-establish an Arctic Tern breeding colony on Eastern Egg Rock off the coast of Maine. However, what most of us do lacks this kind of merit.

There are times when playback is simply too tempting. But we should try to use it less often. And by "we", I am including "me".

Here endeth the sermon.

2 comments:

Fred said...

I don't use it, and I have only pished a couple of times this month

Robert Maciver said...

The only way I could stop pishing would be to cut my lips off.