As many of you are taking your birdJam iPods into the field, we wanted to provide you some recommendations for effectively and responsibly using your birdJam outdoors. Although we continue to poll experts about the issue of attracting birds with recordings (digital, CDs, tapes or records), pishing, whistling and whistles, etc., we are not aware of a definitive scientific study of the impact on birds.
That being said, we strongly believe that you should
- be considerate of other birders, and
- treat the birds as you wish to be treated.
Imagine if someone kept ringing your doorbell, and you went to answer it and there was no one there. After a while you might start to ignore the bell, and that would be lamentable if you had won the lottery, or disastrous if it was the fire department telling you the house is on fire.
When you are with a group of birders and want to use your birdJam iPod with a speaker to ID or call in birds, always ask first if anyone would mind. Whether you are a trip leader or participant, before playing the song you should alert interested people so they can help by scanning for the bird. When you're in the field, play the songs the minimum amount.
If you do not get a response, don't keep playing it over and over. Move on and let the birds get on with their lives. As your skills develop, you'll have a better understanding of which birds are simply migrating through so will be unlikely to respond to a territorial call, and which may be more responsive.
If you do get a response from a bird (coming closer, within view or chipping loudly), pause your iPod and use your birding skills to try see the bird without disturbing it further. This is especially important during the breeding season when you might get both male and female birds agitated and away from the nest. That's when predators, competitors and cowbirds would have an opportunity to find the nest unguarded.
Stop, listen and watch even if you don't get a vocal or visible response. Have your fellow birders look in other directions rather than everyone looking in the direction from which you originally heard the bird. Many birds circle around an intruder to try to triangulate its location. When they do this they may not make any sound and very little movement, so they may slip past you undetected. At this point, it is up to you to find it.
Some birders using playback keep on playing the songs until the bird lands right in front of them. We believe that's going too far.
We hope these recommendations have been helpful to you. If you have any comments, suggestions or additional information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Best wishes for some great birding!
birdJam is a powerful tool: Please use it responsibly.
iPod is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc. birdJam is not affiliated with Apple, Inc.