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Should We Change the ABA Code of Birding Ethics?

J. D. Phillips, an ABA member from Marquette, Michigan, proposes in the November 2012 Birding that the ABA Code of Birding Ethics be tweaked just a bit. The Code currently states:

IpodsLimit the use of recordings and other methods of attracting birds, and never use such methods in heavily birded areas, or for attracting any species that is Threatened, Endangered, or of Special Concern, or is rare in your local area.

Phillips believes that that wording is too vague. Accordingly, he proposes the following, simpler language:

The ABA discourages the use of recordings to attract birds in the field.

What do you think? Is Phillips right? Should the ABA take a harder line against the use of iPods and other contraptions for luring in birds?

LettersJ. D. Phillips is just one of eight contributors to the November 2012 installment of “Your Letters.” The other writers are every bit as opinionated! Martin Meyers writes about the addition of Hawaii to the ABA Area; Glenn Smith opines about the respective “jurisdictions” of bird records committees; Philip Thomas disagrees with an editorial practice at Birding magazine, and Macklin Smith provides a fun response; Joelle Buffa and Clyde Morris exult in the glories of greenbirding; and Dave Lauten wishes we’d run more articles like Mark Maftei’s feature in the May 2012 issue on Ross’s Gulls.

You owe it to yourself to read each letter in its entirety. Our eight correspondents write about diverse topics, and they do from diverse perspectives and experiences; but they are united in a spirit of concern and thoughtfulness.

And now the obvious question: What do you think?

What are your thoughts on playback, Hawaii, bird records committees, editorial observances at Birding, greenbirding, and Ross’s Gulls? Let’s talk about it!


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Ted Floyd

Ted Floyd

Editor, Birding magazine at American Birding Association
Ted Floyd is the longtime Editor of Birding magazine, and he is broadly involved in other programs and initiatives with the ABA. Ted has written 200+ magazine articles and 5 books, including How to Know the Birds (National Geographic, 2019). He is a frequent speaker at birding festivals and has served on several nonprofit boards. Join Ted at The ABA Blog for his semimonthly spot, “How to Know the Birds,” celebrating common birds and the uncommonly interesting things they do.