Monday, August 24, 2015

Sassy Pants


In the words of my Grandma's husband Bob, "Sassy pants!" Oh the joys of birding!  After our warbler work on Mt. Lemmon, we put together a report for our fellow birders on the listserv.  It's a place where birders can go to find out which rare or difficult birds are being seen around the state of Arizona.  During the work, we found a Spotted Owl up on Mt. Lemmon.  It's not the first time I've seen them there, but I don't report detailed info on any official site and keep the location "undisclosed". I ask my birder friends to do this if I'm with them while we're out in the field. Our specific reports are hidden from the public view. Here is a response we received from one of the birders responding to the listserv report. I shall name her "Sassy Pants". 



"If you have birds where your location is "undisclosed", why bother reporting it to the listserv?  Frankly, I think it's rude and bragging that you report birds that other people can't chase.  So the next time we have a rare bird in our gated community I'll make sure to report it to the listserv as a "private residence".   Both of us were shocked by Sassy Pants.  This owl is threatened and as a policy, we do not give exact GPS coordinates on federally protected species! 



There's a reason why we keep an owl's location a secret.  There is a LOT of background info here that I have obtained from over the years of owl surveys, etc.  So to be short here, many people cross the lines with these birds.  Take for example, this Northern Saw-whet Owl below.  I was invited to join this banding crew in my hometown while back in Wisconsin.  But I was not allowed into the area where the owls were collected for banding.  Reason?  A past "volunteer" was secretly poaching the area and selling these birds in the illegal pet trade!  Eventually, this individual was caught and taken into custody.


"What is going on???"
This Barn Owl, below, in Tucson several years ago had an idiot photographer cut down the branches to "clear the vegetation" away for a photo. The owl never returned back to that spot.  This year, people had posted Barn Owl photos up in the Phoenix area and birders found gun casings along with two of the fledglings dead. Another photography group in Phoenix bated young Burrowing owls onto a piece of a cholla skeleton with mealy worms. ILLEGAL!!  And there are more stories like this all over the country.


So to "Sassy Pants", there are reasons we do not give exact gps coordinates for owls and why our reports are hidden. You should be happy that we mention in the report that these owls can be found in the general area. PLUS, if you're a birder, you're going to know that they are in the area.  You don't even need us to tell you where one can find an owl.  That's lazy Sassy!


In a message back, one might write this to you.....
"Dear Sassy, 
 If you want to "chase" a Spotted Owl, there are plenty of well known locations in Arizona to do so. It's incredibly "rude" of YOU to chastise someone for not reporting the specific location of a federally listed species, and you're the one "bragging" about keeping everyone out of your fancy private gate community.
There are thousands of members on the AZNM Listserv and probably fewer than 100 who actually post bird reports on it.  Think about what you wrote--you're very upset towards someone you don't even know, who bothered to go out of their way to give YOU information about birds.  If you are actively trying to discourage people like us, who actually do post bird reports, to stop doing so, you're doing a great job.  Keep up the good work and pretty soon you will have no one posting on the Listserv."  But that is a bit too sassy for me.  However, I will remember this person's name and if she needs help, I'll be busy. Such vulgar behavior.  


As you can see, the birding world can be a fickle one.  There are beautiful people.  Crazy people.  People who actually look like the birds. Funny people.  Mean people. And people who don't even look like birders.  We are a diverse group!  I am the gypsy birder. I go where my heart takes me. But once and awhile, I'm reminded that there are those who would try to suck the beauty and art of birding dry.  So my advice to these meanies!  Be nice! And understand that we are protecting the wildlife that we all love and treasure dearly. 

18 comments:

  1. Well said Chris. Love all the Owl images

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  2. Sassy pants needs to get a life! Ha! I love your owl photos. Glad you are showing that they do exist while protecting their space.

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  3. Give her "spotted owl" coordinates to a Mountain Lion's den..

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    1. Now I won't get anything done today -- I'll keep breaking out into laughter every time this comment comes to mind.

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  4. I would totally ignore Sassy Pants Chris, she obviously has no idea. Meanwhile your shots of the owls are fabulouso.

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  5. Thank you for showing us these beautiful owls, and for looking after their interests so caringly, Chris. Hopefully your comments will have enlightened Miss Sassy Pants, but if not, Tommy DeBardeleben's excellent suggestion (or a geographically feasible equivalent in my case - we don't have too many Mountain Lions round here!) is one that should, perhaps, be adopted as the benchmark for the future!

    Best wishes - - - - Richard

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  6. Oh my the nerve of some people! - Anyway I just loved the owl photos.

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  7. Oh Chris, the pictures are so beautiful, but some of the behaviour you reported made my heart hurt! What is wrong with some people.? Keep up the good work, I am sure there are more people who appreciate it than there are those like snotty pants.

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  8. Great shots - I really like owls (but there again, who does not!) One of my target species for photographs this year is Powerful Owl - but so far I have not even seen one, let alone photographed one!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Jakarta (for a few more hours)

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  9. Well said Chris. A "true" birder will understand. BTW, one of our Rangers is working on GC & ebird. Will let you know when I know more. Condor release 8/26/15 but don't tell Sassy Pants.

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    1. Thank you!! That sounds great. Do you mean to say September 26th?:)

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