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Re: birding etiquette

Hi Carolinabirders,

For future reference, if Shantanu offers you his homemade biscotti as a 
bribe to play hooky and go birding, even if there isn't a White Pelican 
waiting for you, it's much more fun than working...

On Wed, 14 Nov 2001, Russ Palmeri wrote:
> Last week I was birding in Jackson Park, and ran into a more experienced 
> group of birders. I would have been very happy to bird with them, but wasn't 
> sure of the etiquette.
> They didn't invite me to tag along, and I didn't ask to join them.
> Is there some normal way to deal with this situation?

It all depends on the group. If it's a group that paid for a birding 
tour, like Ventures or FONT, then it isn't fair to tag along for free; 
almost as bad as lurking on the Outer Banks during Wings Over Water and 
chasing festival-found rarities without paying for it... (speaking of 
which, I urgently second John Fussell's statements; most Dare County 
politicians see public land like Bodie and Pea Islands and Alligator 
River NWR as a waste that could otherwise be lucrative real estate, 
paying W.O.W. customers might help them see the potential profits of 

Trips arranged for members of some group like the Audubon Society are 
less certain; members of Audubon and other groups pay dues, the benefits 
of which include birding trips, but sometimes leaders of these trips 
allow non-members to join in. And, as Robin Carter pointed out, if it's a 
Big Day or other competitive group, the rules of virtually every 
competition (outside of maybe the Big Sit) rule out adding new people 
halfway through the day.

Other than that, I've almost always found - even back when I didn't know 
a Fieldfare from a Jackdaw - that groups of birders not part of an 
organized trip or tour are happy to have an extra pair of eyes, 
experienced or not. Most experienced birders enjoy teaching what they've 
learned to newcomers. And you never know when the new guy or gal is going 
to spot a Goshawk while the rest of the group is looking the other way...

Good birding,


Joshua S. Rose
Duke University
Department of Biology (Zoology, R.I.P.)