Birder's Guide

AUG 2018

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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21 August 2018 | Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community 4 n Make it possible for every birder who came to have an equal opportunity to see the bird. Photography was sec- ondary to having people see the bird. Avoiding environmental damage wasn't an issue at this location, as it can be at other places when visitors may be tempted to stray into wetlands and thickets or onto steep hillsides. I called Liz Cates and arranged to go to the Hybkis' house at 9 a.m. the next day. The meeting went well, they were gracious and very pleased that people were interested in their bird. I explained how rare the occurrence was and that there would be a lot of birders who would want to see their beautiful oriole. Definitely hundreds, and maybe a lot more. In the end, it was over 1,800 visi- tors! No one wanted the residents to feel overwhelmed, so I suggested we use the rules (listed below) that I compiled for visitors to follow. After reviewing them, the Hybkis readily agreed to announce the Black-backed Oriole's location to the world. problems. I had my own ideas of what to do, but for a possible first ABA Area record, I really wanted some advice from other people with more experience in these events, so I consulted with many people for advice, including local bird- ers Frank and Barb Haas, as well as ABA President Jeff Gordon. Putting this all to- gether gave me a tentative plan for a set of goals and rules for visitors to follow. The goals I outlined were: 1 n Keep visitors safe (fortunately Indiana Avenue is a low-traffic, low-speed street). 2 n Keep "B.B., the Oriole" safe (he was skittish, and he would stop visiting the feeder in front of the Hybkis' house while birders were present on the side- walk across the street). 3 n Keep the bird hosts and neighbors happy and not wishing the bird had never arrived or that it had been kept a secret. We did this by allowing the bird hosts and other neighbors to control the situation and set the rules, which I had compiled and offered as suggestions to be accepted or modified as they wished. THE RULES: • Visiting hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. only. • Parking on Indiana Avenue and adja- cent streets. • Be courteous: Don't block driveways or mailboxes. • Sign the logbook. (The homeown - ers were interested in knowing who came to see the bird and where they came from.) • Don't stand right in front of the house, to keep from scaring the shy bird away. • Stay on the sidewalks, and don't enter people's yards. • Respect the neighborhood's privacy and property. After leaving the Hybkis' house, I contacted the people I had promised to let know the address, including Ted Nichols II, who helped me contact email lists and Facebook with the address and visitation rules. But I had one more im- portant job to do before I could stop and watch for the bird again myself, and that n B.B.'s preferred foods at the Hybkis' feeder were orange halves, red grapes, and raw peanuts. Sometimes he also visited the Binders' feeder, which wasn't visible from the street, so when crowds were small, the Binders regularly invited people into their sunroom to view the bird. Photo © Susan Schmoyer

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