NZ bird Tickability lists

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
Steve Wood
Posts: 161
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 6:57 pm

Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Steve Wood » Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:09 am

Hi Phil,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, but what actually is the stumbling block for you?.... your logic behind what makes those birds not tickable ?
I totally get it that it isn't the ultimate situation,and respect your decision not to include these sightings but very interested to know why exactly.

Is it the human intervention bit...... or perhaps the bird being released in a place that it wasn't initially found....or....perhaps it is a time thing,
would you count it if you saw it the next day perhaps?
User avatar
RussCannings
Posts: 806
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:23 am

Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby RussCannings » Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:58 pm

Hi Steve et al.,

I know you asked Phil the question but since this question has been on a few peoples' minds lately in light of the recent cuckoo, frigatebird, and GH Albatross releases, here are my thoughts on this specific matter:

Since listing/twitching is a competitive game, whether against strangers, peers, or yourself, it should--like other 'sports'-- rely on a combination of preparation, skill, adaptability, circumstance, and perhaps luck. For me, the unpredictability of sport is what makes following or competing in it fun and interesting. While there will always be favourites to 'win' based on various circumstances (In twitching that seems to be money, time, perseverance, and knowledge--in that order), you can never be sure you'll win--and that's why we watch or compete.

In the case of a bird that has been taken into captivity, whether by a hunter, mist-netter, rehaber, good Samaritan, or other... that aspect of chance ceases to exist (Other than--I suppose--the possibility that it might die before you reach it). Now all you need is time and money and you will be guaranteed to see the bird because it is incapable of being anywhere else. Someone might say, what about when it is released and flies off happily into the sunset? Isn't it now wild? Well yes... but if you were aware it was being released, you are once again guaranteed of seeing it. That bird HAS to flop out of that box, otherwise it is doomed to eternal captivity. So even though it becomes wild again in a sense, from a competitive standpoint--there is no chance in it at all--it's a fix. It's like allowing a cricket batsman to hit off a 1 meter tee, but once the ball is struck, you remove the tee and say "the tee is gone so that's a proper six right?"

Someone might ask then, so how come we allow all the birds on (___Insert Predator Free Sanctuary Here___) to be counted? They're all released birds right? My first reaction is to say, "Well it's not that simple". Some birds will be recent releases and others will be from multiple generation stock. I do agree that more clear counting/twitching rules could be applied to the NZ context. For example in the old ABA rules, you had to wait for a re-introduced population to be self-sustaining and growing for at least 10 years before they were countable, and even then a committee had to approve that specific population. I would be fine if someone wanted to take that on. More simply though, whether a reserve has had stichbirds for 10 days or 10 years, you still aren't guaranteed to see one because you don't know where exactly they are (Like you do with a same-day-release observation). And anyone who's been to Rotokare or Maungatautari knows that stitchbirds (for example) aren't actually guaranteed--or takahe on Tiri for that matter!

A more reasonable rule, which is now the current ABA practice, is that any native bird species that has been re-introduced somewhere (into part of its former range) is countable once it has started breeding. So that would mean a takahe plopped out of a box the day before would not be countable, however if that takahe started nesting after a couple months, those birds would then be countable from then on. But how can you tell if a bird has just been released or part of a well-established population? What if both possibilities exist at a certain site? Well I think you just have to go with the flow on that one--just like you can never know if the Cali Quail crossing the road is part of a 100 year old feral population or just hopped out of its coop 25 meters away.

Supplementary food from humans is a tricky grey area--e.g. with stitchbirds. This is much more of a prevalent issue in North America and Europe where yard feeding is common, though perhaps we've mucked up the habitat and ecosystems so drastically, can we really be too picky about a few sugar feeders? I could lean either way. Kind of like the whole 'ship-assisted' debate.

As for rehabbed or mistnetted birds that have been captured and released, I personally prefer the North American practice of waiting 24 hours before counting. This allows the bird to go wherever it wants before settling in (Which might still be nearby) or moving on--the point is--you won't know for sure. You have a chance if you are there at dawn the following day, but you don't know for sure. And that's why competitive birding is so thrilling and painful.

*The exceptions to my above rule might be: 1) You are part of a team mistnetting birds and someone alerts you to something unusual in the net 2) Someone calls you and says 'something weird has hit their window' and you drive over and find a dazed seabird on their porch 3) You discover a live bird trapped in a house, boat, car, netting, brambles, or other material that got into that situation on its own accord or due to another wild animal (e.g. cat).

At the end of the day, we can do what pleases us--though consensus will certainly add legitimacy to our fanciful games. Happy to go with the flow, though I certainly won't be paying big bucks to watch something get let out of a cage-----unless it's a Spoon-billed Sandpiper!!!

Russ Cannings
Morrinsville, NZ
Jan
Posts: 1386
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 10:43 am
Location: Christchurch

Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Jan » Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:32 pm

I think Russ's ideas are very laudible but he is missing a very important point in his time, money etc list. Twitchers really must include their carbon emissions in the equation of if to go for a rarity or not. I realise this will be an anathema to most of you, but we must get real about combatting climate change. I don't mind however I see a new species, if it's a rescue bird it's just as interesting as a wild one and I have seen Spoon-billed Sandpipers in the wild - a lovely male bird with a nest that no-one knew about until our little group came upon him in Russia Far East. And yes, that was a massive load of carbon emissions, but a lot were by ship, and it was nearly 10 years ago.
User avatar
RussCannings
Posts: 806
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:23 am

Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby RussCannings » Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:00 pm

You're absolutely right Jan. We're the ones watching those coal mine canaries after all.
User avatar
RussCannings
Posts: 806
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:23 am

Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby RussCannings » Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:23 pm

Just to follow up on my earlier lengthy post, it has come to my attention that the ABA rule about released birds (24 hours after) was changed in 2014 (Around when I moved to NZ). Here's the new rule specific to rehabbed birds:

Rule 3.B – The RSEC unanimously agreed ((Oct, 2014) that birds that are rehabilitated and then released may be counted upon their release. The RSEC also unanimously agreed in principle that to prevent a bird’s access to medical care that needs it so that other birders may count the species prior to its rehabilitation is completely unethical.

--So that would make the cuckoo totally countable under those rules. My personal feelings remain the same of course but as stated, I'm happy to follow the consensus. I would also like to acknowledge my North American bias and ignorance of other listing rules around the world. New Zealand is in many ways a unique country for birding, so it stands to reason that it should develop its own code of conduct.
Steve Wood
Posts: 161
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 6:57 pm

Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Steve Wood » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:16 pm

Check this out - this is what the serious " UK birders 400 club" consider acceptable as their guidelines. No surprises here for me !!


1). Birds Trapped for Banding/Ringing/Study and at Observatories etc:
Providing they are released at exactly the same location as trapped, perfectly countable and acceptable.

2). Reintroductions/Translocations:
Debateable. Only provided a self-supporting future can be confirmed 20 years following the restocking.
(For example, both UK Red Kite and White-tailed Sea Eagle are countable now, but Salisbury Plain
Great Bustards are not, as very few survive beyond one year.

3). Rehabilitated birds:
Again not a problem if released back where picked up (or at the most suitable location closest to its capture).

Species that have become extinct as a self-supporting introduction or natural occurrence:
Cease to be countable after the date of the last known individual has been recorded.
(never removed from historic record as they were once part of the listing strategic).

So not complicated, as you can see, and widely ACCEPTED. How about we adopt an existing platform that is well established and up-to-date, like the UK has? At the moment all we have is "It's just a bit of fun, tick what you like". (And if you would not want to tick a certain bird, you wouldn't have to ;) ).
Grahame
Posts: 280
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:48 pm
Location: Ngatea
Contact:

Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Grahame » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:07 am

I believe the USA also have two lists, one for normal birders, and one for "professional birders", ie, tour guides etc who have access to places such as islands, where normal birders are not allowed.

Cheers, Grahame
User avatar
philbattley
Posts: 499
Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 2:21 pm

Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby philbattley » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:12 am

Hey Steve, my perspective was largely inherited convention! I don't take my list too seriously - I like to know where I am but that's about as important as it gets, and I think that in time, I'll encounter most things that I might expect to. I'm in no rush. If there is general acceptance that releasing a rehab bird is OK, then I can add blue petrel to my list! Gets messier with prions during the big wreck. I saw and handled probably all the species in rehab, but never went to a release so never saw them in the wild. Likewise I've seen Fiordland Penguin and Kakapo in hospital but not the wild. Has anyone added Kakapo to their list having seen Sirocco on tour?

My bigger bug-bear is whether you can count beach-wrecks. You find a bird, it goes on the national or regional list for a country, but not on yours...

Cheers, Phil


Steve Wood wrote:Hi Phil,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, but what actually is the stumbling block for you?.... your logic behind what makes those birds not tickable ?
I totally get it that it isn't the ultimate situation,and respect your decision not to include these sightings but very interested to know why exactly.

Is it the human intervention bit...... or perhaps the bird being released in a place that it wasn't initially found....or....perhaps it is a time thing,
would you count it if you saw it the next day perhaps?
Pat Miller
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:36 am

Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Pat Miller » Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:37 pm

Hi Folks,

My two cents worth : If you have to ask whether a bird is tickable or not, it isn't. And, what's more you all know that.

Counting a released bird as it flies off is definitely cheating, so save your air miles and carbon footprint for birds that get to where they are by themselves.

An inviolable rule of twitching is that the bird has to be alive. The national list isn't a twitchers list, but this same rule still applies to beach wrecks. Although no one saw it alive in NZ waters, a beach wrecked bird can logically be assumed to have been alive in NZ waters before it washed ashore dead on a beach and was found by someone. The finder can't count it themselves, (on their life list), but NZ as a country can.

Cheerio,
Pat
Steve Wood
Posts: 161
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 6:57 pm

Re: NZ bird Tickability lists

Postby Steve Wood » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:06 am

Hi Pat,
The main reason for some of us to ask that question - "Is this tickable" is because there are no guidelines here in NZ to advise otherwise.
How many people have read the above accepted criteria set by the UK and USA and were not surprised ???..... quite a few is my guess.
Even some of NZ supposedly "top birders" were un aware that this is an excepted practice. As Phil says " inherited convention" for most.
It is certainly not the ideal situation, I'm the first to agree with that. But still needs some consideration.It is still however a wild bird back into the wild.
You obviously wouldn't care for it and I'm sure many others will agree with you. In the bigger world of birding and Twitching however, it is acceptable under certain guidelines as described above. Remember this is not compulsory, you tick what you wish.
For those handful or so serious twitcher's here in NZ, who do enjoy the absurd challenge of this past time, shouldn't be alienated for including rehab released birds on there list if they choose to do so. I'm not suggestion reinventing the wheel, the protocol is already out there,we just don't have it here.
Also, and more to point, everyone is on an even playing field.

I agree with your last paragraph.

Cheers.

Return to “General Birding Discussion”