Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Exminster Owls - a Plea

The recent Long-eared Owl at Exminster has raised an issue that this blog has had to deal with a few times - whether or not to publish reports of a potentially sensitive nature. Obviously I would be quite upset to learn that a direct consequence of news published on DBN was the disturbance and harassment of the birds in question. So, following concerns raised after the first report was published, the decision was taken to keep quiet instead. However, this was without realising the bird was so obvious and had rapidly become a virtual tourist attraction! So it was 'on', then 'off' and now 'on' again. Sorry, these things happen. We are not always going to make the correct call, but will always try to err on the side of caution. Apologies if your posts or reports have been affected by this, but hopefully you'll be understanding.

The LEO has apparently chosen a rather accessible roosting bush. Might there be a temptation to approach it too closely? The Exminster Short-eared Owls have likewise become very popular. Rumour has it that some visitors are not content to watch the birds from a sensible distance but are getting into the habitat for some reason, with the obvious risk of disturbance. Clearly this is daft. All these owls will only put up with so much hassle and will move on if not left alone. I have deliberately not ascribed this alleged behaviour to any particular 'group' of enthusiasts, because the point of this post is not to lay blame, but to encourage responsibility.

The instant availibility of bird news is potentially a double-edged sword. While it gives everyone the opportunity to hear about good birds (and to go and see them if they choose) it is not discerning, and cannot tell if the recipient will behave in a resposible fashion. So, for what it's worth can I please ask that if you learn some bird news through this blog you also treat it with respect. Thanks.

GH