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Subject: rec.birds Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (Part 1/2)

This article was archived around: 25 Apr 2006 04:22:14 GMT

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Archive-name: birds-faq/wild-birds/part1 Last-modified: August 24, 2001 Posting-frequency: Every 37 days
rec.birds Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (Part 1/2) This is part 1 (of 2) of the Frequently Asked Questions list for the Usenet newsgroup rec.birds. The FAQ is posted every five weeks. Its current editor is Lanny Chambers; send suggestions for new questions and other comments to him. Remember the FAQ is intended as a living document about rec.birds, constant updating is welcome! This section of the FAQ contains information about rec.birds and about wild birds. The other section of the FAQ contains pointers to more information about wild birds. Do not send articles to the FAQ editor for posting. rec.birds is an unmoderated newsgroup, so you may post articles yourself. If you are a newcomer to Usenet, please read the official articles about etiquette in the newsgroup news.announce.newusers before you post. Contents: 1.0. All-purpose rec.birds etiquette 1.1. I have a question about pet birds. 1.2. Are domestic cats Satan? --A Non-judgmental Attempt at Consensus. 1.3a. Can I "count" this bird? 1.3b. What are "listers"? 1.4. I found an injured bird; what can I do? 1.5. I found an abandoned nestling; what can I do? 1.6. A wild bird is annoying me; what can I do? 1.7. What is the Migratory Bird Treaty? 1.8. I saw a rare bird! What do I do? 1.9. Why does everybody seem to hate Starlings and House Sparrows so much? 1.10. Why does everybody seem to hate Cowbirds so much? 1.11. I saw a bird which I can't identify. Can someone help me? 1.12. How do I keep squirrels out of my feeders? 1.13. How can I make homemade hummingbird nectar? 1.14a. What kind of binoculars should I buy? 1.14b. What kind of scope should I buy? 1.15a. I found a dead bird with a band. What do I do? 1.15b. I saw a banded or marked bird. What do I do? 1.16. If we throw rice at our wedding, will birds eat it and explode? 1.17. Does providing food at feeders during summer keep birds from migrating? 1.18. If I stop feeding birds, will they die? 1.19. Does anyone archive rec.birds? 1.20. ETHICS FOR BIRDERS 1.21. Acknowledgements ------- 1.0. All-purpose rec.birds etiquette This newsgroup is for the discussion of wild birds. Here is a partial list of possible topics: Identifying birds in the field by appearance, behavior, and song Birding trips Attracting wild birds to feeders Behavior of birds in the wild Conservation of wild birds Research into bird life Bird taxonomy rec.birds was created by Andy Rubaszek at the University of Toronto. Discussion of birds as pets is not appropriate in rec.birds. The Usenet newsgroup rec.pets.birds is specifically for caged birds. Discussion of birds as farm animals is also not appropriate on rec.birds. Posts on the husbandry of ostriches, emus, and peafowl may be appropriate in misc.rural. If someone posts an article to this or any newsgroup that is not appropriate, the proper response (if you feel you must respond) is to send that person e-mail. Why? Because Usenet is a device for saying something to lots of people. In this instance, you need to say something to only one person, the offending article's original poster. That is what e-mail is designed for. Please place your name and an indication of your geographical location, as well as a working e-mail address, at the bottom of your postings as a signature. rec.birds is read all around the world. You will generate a great deal of goodwill if you take a moment to internationalize your postings. Here are a few examples of ways to do this: + When you write about a bird species, why not find its scientific name in your field guide and mention it? It's easy. + When you refer to measurements, include the units. For instance, say "-10 degrees C" or "-10 degrees F" instead of just "ten below." + When you cite a location, be specific. Think: "Could someone on the other side of the world find this site on a map with the information I've given?" + Remember that laws vary from place to place. Please make your postings concise. When posting followup articles, do not quote more than is necessary of the originals. When you feel the urge to reply to a posting, consider whether e-mail to the poster would serve your purpose, rather than posting your reply to the newsgroup. If you write an article in anger, wait 24 hours before posting it. After that time has passed, it will be easier for you to edit your post down to what is constructive, or to decide that your post would be better e-mailed or discarded. In the past, discussions of falconry in rec.birds have generated controversy. Falconry is the keeping of raptors for use in hunting; birds kept by falconers are in a semi-wild state. After much debate, a consensus emerged: if a post focuses mostly on hunting with raptors or on their captive breeding, it is appropriate for rec.hunting. If a post offers information about raptors that is of general interest, it is welcome in rec.birds. Continued hostilities among supporters, tolerators, and opponents of falconry recently resulted in the creation of two new newsgroups: alt.falconry and alt.sport.falconry. The presence of these newsgroups does not automatically make mention of falconry in rec.birds forbidden, but, as a practical matter, posts discussing falconry will probably receive a warmer reception in the new groups than in rec.birds. If your site does not carry alt.falconry or alt.sport.falconry, you may wish to ask your news administrator to add them. The more unpleasant moments of the debates over falconry posts happened for two reasons: + Many people disagree over whether hunting for sport is moral. + Some birders suspect falconers of taking eggs or birds from the wild illegally. Regardless of your opinions on these subjects, please assume that your fellow posters' respect for wildlife and the law is equal to your own. Doing so will help keep rec.birds an enjoyable forum. Another topic guaranteed to generate ill will on rec.birds is that of domestic cats. If you must post on this topic, please read the section below entitled "Are domestic cats Satan? --A Non-judgmental Attempt at Consensus" before you do. Then make sure that your post is constructive before you send it. Avoid making implications about persons who keep cats. Finally, be advised that Usenet is not a very good medium for expressing moral outrage. If your goal is to get others to "see the error of their ways," you'll obviously want to choose the strategy that's most likely to work. Angry Usenet posts put their targets on the defensive; the targeted persons, having been publicly criticized, often feel compelled to reply publicly with their own harsh words. This phenomenon is what we call a "flame war," and the demoralizing effect it has on a newsgroup cannot be overstated. It also does not lead to many changed minds; in fact, opinions harden and polarize further. If you must inform one of your fellow Usenet readers that you think their behavior is morally wrong, it's in everyone's interest for you to do so in a carefully and humbly worded mail message. ------- 1.1. I have a question about pet birds. Please post your question to the Usenet newsgroup rec.pets.birds. Or visit that group's World Wide Web site at: http://www.upatsix.com/faq/ ------- 1.2. Are domestic cats Satan? --A Non-judgmental Attempt at Consensus. Many human activities lead to environmental damage in one degree or another. We clear, farm, flood, drain, divide, and build upon our surroundings with alacrity. We have also begun to realize that we can take steps to minimize the damage we do. Often, taking steps to preserve the environment is a lot like voting: it's not clear that any one person's action will have more than a tiny effect. Nevertheless, like voting, there are many reasons why one should go ahead and take those steps anyway: + Doing so demonstrates that one is a member of a community and shares responsibility. + Doing so sets an example and provides education to others. + One should always act in a way that, if you lived in a world where EVERYONE acted so, would make that world a good place. One way human beings damage the environment is by breeding animals to suit their own purposes. An example of such an "artificial animal" is the domestic cat, which provides affection and companionship for its owner and sometimes reduces domestic pests; unfortunately, it also hunts wild birds with little regard to its own food needs. Some domestic cats probably do little damage to wild birds. Others have single-handedly sent entire species (such as the St. Stephen's Island Wren) into extinction. Regardless, if you own a cat, you can take steps to diminish its take. You can keep it indoors, or you can bell it (though the effectiveness of belling cats is often questioned). Perhaps those steps will have little impact; perhaps your cat will only kill one fewer bird during its lifetime than it would have otherwise. Remember that there are billions of cats in the world, and, for example, only a few hundred Kirtland's Warblers (Dendroica kirtlandii). Invocations of "the survival of the fittest" are not relevant here. Perhaps many birds are not competent to compete with housecats, or DDT, or highway construction programs. Nevertheless, we wish to preserve those birds because they pre-date their human-assisted competitors, because they represent irreplaceable parts of our world, and because they are beautiful. Finally, it's worth mentioning that indoor cats live longer. ------- 1.3a. Can I "count" this bird? 1.3b. What are "listers"? Many people who are interested in birds find it useful to keep a list of the species they have seen: a "life list." Doing so helps them to remember their encounters with birds, and thus makes them better prepared to identify those birds in the future. Consider creating one of your own; if you do, you'll enhance its usefulness if you include the dates and locations of your sightings. The term "lister" refers to a person who particularly enjoys the sport of seeing as many bird species as possible within defined geographic areas. So a lister might have a North America list, a backyard list, a Kentucky list, and a Sweden list. Sometimes the term is used pejoratively to imply that someone's interest in the natural world is superficial. Do not make this implication on rec.birds (see section 1.0 above). If you are keeping your lists for your own purposes, you are free to establish your own criteria for when you may include a bird on it. Should you include birds that you identified solely on the basis of their songs? Even if they're nocturnal? Birds that you saw only in silhouette? All such choices are up to you. Many birders with a naturalistic bent apply a stringent criterion: birds may be counted only if you feel that you've "met" them. On the other hand, if you intend to submit your list to an organization of competitive birders, you must abide by their rules. For instance, the American Birding Association once forbade the inclusion of "heard-only" birds on North American lists (this restriction has now been lifted). Another important criterion for ABA listing is that listed birds must be of species on the official ABA list. That means that you can't count an escaped parrot, for instance. Most birders don't count escaped domestic or cage birds even for informal listing. ------- 1.4. I found an injured bird; what can I do? Most people's encounters with injured wild birds happen around plate-glass windows. Birds strike glass windows and doors frequently, apparently because of the reflections of sky they create. In most cases, the bird is simply stunned. The best way to save the bird's life is to shoo potential predators from it until it recovers and flies off. Some people contend that taping hawk silhouettes to windows makes bird strikes less frequent. Others contend that this technique has little effect, and still others suggest that any window marking works as well. Putting up hawk silhouettes does have the positive effect of making passing humans think about birds. If you find a large bird, such as an owl, a hawk, or a vulture, that has been wounded, you may wish to contact a rehabilitation center, such as the Carolina Raptor Center (704-875-6521) or the Vermont Raptor Center (802-457-2779), for assistance. Some rehabilitation centers also accept non-raptor birds or other wildlife, such as WildCare (415-456-7283, http://www.wildcaremarin.org), or the Ontario Veterinary College's Wild Bird Clinic (519-824-4120, ext. 4162). For more information about rehabilitation, including directories by state, province, and country, see: http://www.tc.umn.edu/~devo0028/ Be aware that touching large wild birds can be dangerous. ------- 1.5. I found an abandoned nestling; what can I do? If you come across a nest full of nestlings with no parent in sight, do not assume that the nest has been abandoned. In fact, the best way to ensure that the nest does not become abandoned is to leave the area at once. Birds do not like large animals of any kind near their active nests, and may cut their losses at any time. If you find a nestling that has fallen out of the nest, consider placing it back in the nest only if the task can be done quickly and with a minimum of disturbance. You may also consider placing it in a nest of the same species. In either case, make sure that your attempt is unobtrusive and rapid. You should not feel guilty if, after examining the situation, you decide not to replace the nestling; no nestling's survival is guaranteed, in or out of the nest. By placing a nestling or egg back into a nest, or even by observing the nest for the necessary length of time, you may be helping predators find the nest. If you find a fallen nestling which you cannot replace in a nest, or if after several hours of unobtrusive observation you determine that a nest full of nestlings is abandoned, do not attempt to rescue the birds yourself unless you are prepared to commit to dawn-to-dusk feedings, keeping them close by you at all times. See _The Bluebird: How You Can Help Its Fight for Survival_, by Lawrence Zeleny (Indiana, 1976), for an account of hand-raising Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis). Contact a wildlife rehab center for assistance. If a bird can perch on a branch by itself and is covered with feathers, it is a fledgling, not a nestling, and should be left alone. Note that hand-raising birds without authorization may be a violation of the law. For more information about rehabilitation, see http://wildliferehab.virtualave.net/ ------- 1.6. A wild bird is annoying me; what can I do? Probably little. In countries that have signed the Migratory Bird Treaty, virtually nothing. People often complain of birds singing loudly throughout the night. In North America, the bird in question is often a Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos). Posters have suggested that mockingbirds that sing in this way are males that have been unsuccessful in finding a mate earlier in the season. Regardless, Northern Mockingbirds are protected by law in the United States and Canada. Either enjoy the song or use earplugs. The most frequent reports of bird annoyance on rec.birds are of woodpeckers pecking on houses. Woodpeckers peck on things for four main reasons: + To find food; + To send a loud territorial signal; + To construct nest or roost sites; and + To store food (some species). Try to figure out what benefit the bird is deriving from your house, and remove it. For example, if a woodpecker is using your wall as a sounding board, perhaps you can change the surface so that it resonates less. In the United States, there are certain commercial products that purport to discourage woodpeckers by causing unpleasant sensations on contact. I have no information on these products. Chuck Otte suggests thin strips, 3/8 to 3/4 inch (1 to 2 cm) wide, of mylar ribbon about 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm) long tacked in the area of damage. Obtain these from balloon shops or florists. Be sure to remove the strips once they are no longer necessary so as not to create litter. In any case, any offending bird is not likely to hang around forever. ------- 1.7. What is the Migratory Bird Treaty? In the early twentieth century, several governments realized that the protection of migratory birds was not something one nation could accomplish alone, because birds do not respect national boundaries. The treaty was signed by the United States and Great Britain (on behalf of Canada) in 1916 and was implemented in the United States by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The United States has similar treaties with Mexico and Japan, and it also signed one with the Soviet Union. The Act makes it illegal to "pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, attempt to take, capture, or kill, possess, offer for sale, sell, offer to barter, barter, offer to purchase, purchase, deliver for shipment, ship, export, import," etc., migratory birds, parts of their bodies, or their eggs or nests. Governmental authorities may make exceptions to allow, for example, hunting seasons or research work; in these cases, licenses or permits are involved. The "take" provision above makes it imperative that birders refrain from harassing birds that are attempting to nest. See "Birders and the U.S. Federal Laws" in the October 1992 _Birding_ for more information. Note also the "possess" provision above; it explains why wildlife rehab centers do not give molted feathers to persons who request them. In the United States, the Act appears in law at 16 USC 703-711 and is implemented by regulation at 50 CFR 21.11, 10.12, 10.13. Web servers where you can find the text of those laws, species list, etc: http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/db2.html Click the line "Code of Federal Regulations" and then find the above regulations (eg 50CFR10, ETC). ------- 1.8. I saw a rare bird! What do I do? If you saw it on private property, seek the property owner's permission before publicizing it. See "ETHICS FOR BIRDERS," below. Assuming that you've received permission, or if the bird was seen on public lands, post a report to rec.birds, of course. Include a complete description of the bird; the date, time, and location of the sighting; the names of those who saw it; and whether photos were obtained. In North America, you can also call the North American Rare Bird Alert (U.S. and Canada: 800-458-BIRD). You can also call the regional rare-bird hotline; North American numbers are published regularly in _Winging It_ (see the bird magazine list in the other part of the FAQ). ------- 1.9. Why does everybody seem to hate Starlings and House Sparrows so much? European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) are European species that have been introduced in several parts of the globe. In particular, Starlings were introduced to North America by one man, Eugene Schieffelin, who wished to increase the popularity there of William Shakespeare; he set out to introduce all the birds mentioned in the Bard's writings. Starlings were his greatest success. In areas where they are native, these species receive both affection and scorn, as does any aggressive or conspicuous species in its home range. In areas where Starlings and House Sparrows have been introduced, however, they compete for food and nesting sites with native species; thus they have a detrimental effect on biological diversity. The decline of cavity-nesting birds (such as bluebirds, Sialia spp.) in North America has been attributed in part to them. Because they are not native species, these two, along with city pigeons ("Rock Pigeons," Columba livia) and Muscovy "ducks" (Cairina moschata), are not protected in North America. ------- 1.10. Why does everybody seem to hate Cowbirds so much? Many cowbird species, such as Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) and Bronzed Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus), are brood parasites. That is, female birds lay their eggs in nests of birds of other species; the cowbird chicks hatch first and outcompete the other chicks for food and parental attention. This behavior is an evolutionary adaptation. Birds are not moral agents, so we cannot describe brood parasitism as immoral. Nevertheless, many birders cannot help but find it repugnant, particularly when treated to the spectacle of a cowbird chick being frantically fed by parents smaller than the chick itself. This revulsion no doubt contributes to cowbirds' bad press. However, cowbirds have been helped along by human activities. They prefer as a habitat open lands, such as prairies, and the edges of woodlands, and humans have created limitless areas of cleared space and limitless lines of edges over the past century through development and roadbuilding. Cowbirds have thus spread widely, and they are now too successful for the survival of many other bird species. Thus they are trapped systematically by authorized persons in areas where they threaten endangered species, and some prominent ornithologists are calling for mass harvests of cowbirds on their winter roosts. Because they are native species, cowbirds in North America ARE protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. ------- 1.11. I saw a bird which I can't identify. Can someone help me? Quite likely. Post as complete a description of the bird as you can. Give the location in which you found the bird, and describe the habitat. Also describe its behavior and any vocalizations you heard. Obviously, describing the bird will be easier if you took notes while observing it, an excellent habit to be in. Most field guides include a "map of a bird": a schematic drawing of a bird with all the parts of its anatomy labeled. This picture will help you note the details of an unknown bird systematically. Here's a short list of questions which might help you get started on a "What is this bird" post. + Was it the size of a sparrow? Or a robin? Or a crow? Or a hawk? + Did it have a long or a short beak? What shape and color was it? + What color was its head? Did it have an eyebrow or a ring around its eye? + What color was its back? + What color were its wings? Did you notice any horizontal stripes on them? + Did it have long or short legs? What color? + Was its tail long, like a mockingbird's? What color? + Where did you see the bird--not just where geographically, but what kind of setting: forest, beach, field, parking lot...? What time of day was it? + What was the bird doing? Did it make any sounds? ------- 1.12. How do I keep squirrels out of my feeders? You will not be able to exclude squirrels entirely, as they are wily creatures. If you view your interaction with squirrels as a war, you will lose, and most people find it very demoralizing to be defeated by an opponent with a brain the size of a ball bearing. In most cases, you can diminish squirrels' consumption of your bird feed through three simple tactics: + Place your bird feeder on a post at least 10 ft (3 m) away from any potential jumping-off point. + Mount a baffle on the post. A length of stovepipe, closed at the top, works very well. + Ensure that there is some food for squirrels, such as by tolerating spillage of bird feed. ------- 1.13. How can I make homemade hummingbird syrup ("nectar")? Mix four measures of water and one measure of white table sugar; stir until the sugar dissolves. Boiling the water before measuring may delay spoilage in the feeder by a day or so; if you do boil, allow the mixture to cool before filling your feeder. There have been reports that cane sugar is much preferred over beet sugar. Under no circumstances use honey, brown sugar, or artificial sweeteners. There is no need to color the syrup. Hummingbirds will take syrup from any suitable dispenser regardless of the syrup's color, although in many tests they preferred clear syrup over colored. It does help, however, if the dispenser itself is at least partly red. You can advertise more blatantly by adding some fluorescent red or orange surveyor's tape, which emits ultraviolet light, to which hummingbirds are especially sensitive. Change the syrup and meticulously clean the feeder at the first sign of cloudiness, which is caused by bacterial growth. In hot weather, that might be every day or two. Black mold is best removed by soaking the feeder in a 10% bleach solution, or by soaking in vinegar. Providing only sugar-water syrup to hummingbirds does not endanger their diet. They do need protein, but they eat insects and spiders to obtain it. For more information on hummingbirds, see: http://www.hummingbirds.net/ ------- 1.14a.What kind of binoculars should I buy? 1.14b.What kind of scope should I buy? For both these questions, see the Optics FAQ, posted regularly in rec.birds by Ed Matthews <edm@aib.com>. The Optics FAQ is archived together with this and many other FAQs. See the question "How can I get this and other FAQs by anonymous FTP? On the Web?" in the other part of the FAQ. ------- 1.15a. I found a dead bird with a band/ring. What do I do? 1.15b. I saw a banded/ringed or marked bird. What do I do? Prepare the following information (indicate any unknown items with a "?"): + Species of bird + Color of band + Code on band (exactly as it appears on the band) + Location (direction and distance to the nearest town, or latitude and longitude to the nearest minute if possible) + Date of sighting + Name and address of observer; include other contact information if desired More suggestions appear below. Report sightings of small Canada Geese with 3-character orange or red collars, as well as White-fronted Geese, Ross' Geese, or Lesser Snow Geese with collars of any color to: Dick Kerbes Canadian Wildlife Service 115 Perimeter Road Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 0X4 CANADA Phone: +1 306 975 4111 Fax: +1 306 975 4089 E-mail: richard.kerbes@ec.gc.ca Dick writes: "We handle re-sightings of neckbanded geese related to the international project within the Arctic Goose Joint Venture. This covers geese which were neckbanded, 1987 to 1995, in Arctic Canada, Alaska, and Siberia," as described above. He also notes that in 3-character collars, "The 3-character code has the first character upright, the second two horizontal, when viewed with the goose's head up." Report sightings of geese with blue collars to Margie Mitchell Migratory Bird Management Office USFWS 608 Cherry Street Rm. 119 Columbia, Missouri USA You may also send her reports of orange collars. Do not report sightings of geese with 4-character neck collars to Donald Rusch. He is no longer handling them. Send them to the Canadian Wildlife Service (above) or the Bird Banding Lab (below). Report sightings of color-banded shorebirds to: Dr. Cheri Gratto-Trevor Pan American Shorebird Program Canadian Wildlife Service 115 Perimeter Road Saskatoon, Sask. S7N 0X4 Canada Fax: +1 306 975 4089 E-mail: Cheri.Gratto-Trevor@ec.gc.ca Otherwise, for birds found in the U.S., send the band or a description of it, along with a description of the bird and the date and location of the encounter, to: Bird Banding Lab Patuxent Wildlife Research Center 12100 Beach Forest Rd Laurel, Maryland 20708-4037 USA In the U.S., call toll-free 1-800-327-BAND They may be able to help with banded birds found in Canada. Troy Gordon provides this advice: "Information to include in the report if available: + Colors of the collar and the symbols on it + Symbols on collar + Date, time and location (direction to nearest town, county, state) + Number of geese in flock + Other collars seen in flock + Activity of flock (grazing, swimming, loafing, etc) "If observations are over several days, weeks or months, give the total length of time the goose was seen at that location. "Please send a written report, rather than calling! The Bird Banding Lab is not staffed to deal with calls, and a written report can be forwarded to the correct researcher." ------- 1.16. If we throw rice at our wedding, will birds eat it and explode? We are aware of no documented cases of birds suffering from eating rice. Joe Morlan writes, "Bobolinks are reported to cause considerable damage to rice fields in parts of the southeast during fall migration. The alternate name for the Java Sparrow is 'Ricebird' because of its food preferences." See the June 1993 issue of _Bird Watcher's Digest_ for more information. ------- 1.17. Does providing food at feeders during summer keep birds from migrating? No. If you have a bird at your feeder during winter that "should have migrated," it may have been injured or too ill to migrate. A few in- dividuals, for reasons unknown (but not thought to be related to bird feeders) also choose not to migrate during any given winter. ------- 1.18. If I stop feeding birds, will they die? Christopher Leahy, in _The Birdwatcher's Companion_ (New York: Hill & Wang, 1982), writes: "If you stop feeding, the healthy members of your clientele will resort to wild food sources (or your neighbor's feeder) without hesitation. Only those which need a 'crutch' to survive are likely to fall prey to real life." ------- 1.19 Does anyone archive rec.birds postings? Apparently, no one does so on a systematic basis. However, as of this writing (early 2002), around 90,000 threads are available at http://groups.google.com/. ------- 1.20. ETHICS FOR BIRDERS This section is excerpted from Claudia Wilds's outstanding book _Finding Birds in the National Capital Area_ (Smithsonian, 1992; available from the ABA). 1. Put the welfare of the bird first. a. Do nothing that would flush a bird from its nest or keep it from its eggs or young. b. Avoid chasing or repeatedly flushing any bird; in particular, do not force a tired migrant or a bird in cold weather to use up energy in flight. c. Do not handle birds or their eggs unless you have a permit to do so. d. Make a special effort to avoid or stop the harassment of any bird whose presence in the area has been publicized among birders. This stricture especially applies to the use of tapes and to the disturbance of nesting birds, and of vagrants and rare, threatened, and endangered species. e. If you think a bird's welfare will be threatened if its presence is publicized, document it carefully and report its presence only to someone who needs to have the information (e.g., a refuge manager, an officer of the appropriate records committee, the editor of the appropriate journal). If you are not sure, discuss it with the manager of a rare bird alert or another experienced and responsible birder. 2. Protect habitat. a. Stay on existing roads and trails whenever possible. b. Leave vegetation as you find it; do not break it or remove it to get a better view, or trample marshland into mud. 3. Respect the rights of others. a. Do not trespass on property that may be private, whether or not "No Trespassing" signs have been posted. Ask the landowner directly for access unless specific permission for birders to enter the area has been announced or published. b. Do not enter closed areas of public lands without permission. c. If you find a rare bird on land that is closed to the public, do not publicize it without describing the possible consequences of doing so to the owner and obtaining appropriate permission. d. Stay out of plowed or planted fields and managed turf or sod. e. By behaving responsibly and courteously to nonbirders at all times, help to ensure that birders will be welcome everywhere. Do nothing that may have the consequence of excluding future birders from an area. f. When seeking birding information from others call only between 9 a.m and 9 p.m. (their time!) unless you know that your call will be welcome at that number at other hours. ------- 1.21. Acknowledgements Thanks to the many persons who reviewed this document, especially the following, who provided additional information or text: Tom Lathrop, Christine Barker, Ignaz Wanders, Annika Forsten, Samuel Conway, Tony Lang, Sterling Southern, Byron K. Butler, Al Jaramillo, Ed Matthews, Celia E. Humphreys, Fred G. Thurber, Paula Ford, Malcolm Ogilvie, Daan Sandee, Carena Pooth, Nina Mollett, Mike McLeish, Janet Swift, Christian Steel, David Allen, James Dean, Joe Morlan, Mark Huff, Kevin McGowan, Chuck Otte, Bernard Volet, Paul Burnett, Jennifer Norman, Mark Hammond, Derk Drukker, Jorgen Grahn, Alan Middleton, Steve Buettner, Todd Anderson, Vic Fazio, Troy Gordon, Steve Wendt, Derek Kirkland, Greg Tillman, Rene Morin, Al Eisner, Diane Porter, Doug A. Grier, Allan Donsig, Jean Dunlavy, Ken Patrick, Derek Turner, Joan Thompson, Dan Kozlovic, Robert Eisberg, Gjon Hazard, Adrian Mariano, Richard Ranft, Bill Oldroyd, Gail Spitler, John J. Collins, Urs Geiser. Thanks to Laura Keohane of the law firm Dorsey and Whitney, of Minneapolis, for providing the text of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. (Neither Dorsey and Whitney nor any of its members has read this document, nor have they any responsibility for this document's content.) The rec.birds FAQ was originally prepared by Brian Rice. _The Birder's Handbook_, by Paul Ehrlich et al. (Simon and Schuster, 1988) provided valuable information and is highly recommended. Please notify the FAQ editor of any errors. If I have failed to acknowledge your contribution, please do not hesitate to let me know. Further information on any subject is always welcome. *********end of part 1 (of 2) of the rec.birds FAQ*********