Friday 8 December 2006

What I like about Snow and don't like about Joggers

I am aware that you guessed where I just got back from, but I'll still tell you: from the Arb.
Today was a bit different from yesterday however in that the snow was largely gone. And with the return of friction on the roads came the return of the joggers and dog walkers.
It is always a big issue about nature conservation and human recreation but this is actually not one of these issues: it is about my hobby and theirs! Well, you see, I am a calm and peaceful person and I don't really mind others enjoying themselves outside as long as they don't get between me and a bird! But what if they do without me noticing it? This interference is easily investigated when it comes to waterbirds and, say, surfing: either the ducks fly or they don't. So my attitude towards surfers is well defined and founded firmly. But joggers? What do I, as a birder, think about joggers? Nothing much really, I was birding at the Arb for weeks now minding my own business with them minding theirs and all was peace and harmony. But was it really or had I been a victim of some fierce betrayal?
Today I decided to find out and settle my relationship towards joggers and dog walkers once and for all. I counted my birds today with all those joggers around. Just as I counted yesterday with all those joggers not around.
And the results, to be honest, are rather disturbing:

Yesterday (quiet) Today (crowded)
Canada Goose 20 1
Mallard 5 7
Red-tailed Hawk 1 0
Cooper's Hawk 1 0
Sharp-shinned Hawk 0 1
Ring-billed Gull 1 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2 3
Downy Woodpecker 3 7
Hairy Woodpecker 1 0
Blue Jay 3 0
American Crow 5 11
Black-capped Chickadee 8 15
Tufted Titmouse 2 1
Brown Creeper 0 6
White-breasted Nuthatch 5 4
Carolina Wren 2 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 2 1
Hermit Thrush 1 0
American Robin 80 140
Cedar Waxwing 25 0
European Starling 30 2
Northern Cardinal 8 7
American Tree Sparrow 3 4
White-throated Sparrow 12 10
Dark-eyed Junco 5 4
House Sparrow 2 0
American Goldfinch 3 3
Bird total 231 230
Species total 26 21

Now there's clear proof: joggers and dog walkers make birding less classy by chasing away some bird species and lurking in more of the ones that are already there to keep the number of birds at a constant level, hence fooling birders and making them believe all is fine when really the birding is only second class! How sickeningly unfair and dishonest is that?
That's what I mean: I don't mind anyone practising recreation where I do my birding as long as they are open about what they do and play by the rules. But this cheating is just ridiculous and childish and next time I am at the Arb, I'll confront a few of those dog walkers and tell them to just speak out loud if they have anything to say or else get out of my birding terrain!

On a more serious note, this most recent post of Charlie Moores is really quite disturbing. Maybe birders should stand up and make themselves heard much more that the conservation of species is not only an ethical duty but that it is also a necessity for a society to preserve what a not so small percentage enjoy for recreation as much as this same society allows the construction of golf courses, yacht harbours and ski resorts!


Anonymous said...

Hiya Jochen - this is going to be one wonderful blog. Not sure how you're finding the time to be so productive, but I'm glad you are! The Arb sounds just the place for an organised, thoughtful bloke like you to take the relatively mundane and reach some really interesting conclusions...hi to S from the THREE of us here in the cold and wet UK

Jochen said...

Hi Charlie,
very glad you like it.
Even though no one but you (and Sharon once) has posted a comment yet, I do seem to be getting a few readers now,or at least people who drop in, look at the images and then notice there's nothing useful here to be found...

Hey, thanks for the great post on your blog about mine, my friend!!
WOW!!! See you soon here in the Detroit area.

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