[Ontbirds] Phainopepla update

Glenn Coady glenn_coady at hotmail.com
Sun Nov 15 20:38:53 EST 2009


Ontbirds subscribers,


The Phainopepla in Brampton has now stayed for seven days and given a very large segment of Ontario's birders a truly fine memory to look back upon when remembering the fall of 2009. That is most satisfying, to be sure.


Likewise, the vast majority of those who went to see this bird have been very respectful of the property owners in this subdivision, and have gone out of their way to engage the local people, and to point out the bird to them. Many of the homeowners I talked to were mostly amused by the deluge of people Saturday morning. The story has been featured in the local Brampton newspaper. 


The finder of this bird, my friend Dian Bogie, has been a truly impeccable host, having alerted all the neighbours of the impending crowds, and providing a stand in her front yard with free coffee and cookies and a logbook to update when and where the bird was being seen. She helped countless birders find this Phainopepla over the weekend. It should not go unnoticed that, without the efforts of Dian, not one person this week would have seen this Phainopepla - thanks for a very nice job Dian. 


Congratulations to everyone who saw the Phainopepla, and the vast majority of visitors, who acted as excellent ambassadors for the pursuit of birding. I thank you all for being considerate and patient.


Unfortunately, one particularly boorish birder left a very bad taste in the mouths of several local homeowners. This very well-known Mississauga birder, birding group leader, and long-time Toronto Ornithological Club member, displayed a positively breathtaking lack of both patience and sound judgement. On Saturday afternoon, this birder, also a friend of mine, and well-known for wearing a Greek fisherman-style hat while birding, blatantly trespassed down the driveway of an Aberdeen Crescent home to peer into a backyard without obtaining any prior permission. Worse still, when the Phainopepla was subsequently located, and dove into a yew bush, where it remained for some time, this person trespassed yet again onto another front yard and actually went over and DELIBERATELY FLUSHED THE BIRD BY SHAKING THE BUSH (!!!!!) to force the Phainopepla out and into view. Those who observed this were dumbfounded, and the homeowner involved, and his neighbour to the east, who both witnessed this flagrant abuse, told me they were very disappointed in such behaviour. Given my request for people to behave well when I first posted this bird to ONTBIRDS, I concur that I am tremendously disappointed in this individual as well. Many birders witnessed these incidents in utter disbelief. Here is a posting made to the Hamilton listserve (and I believe possibly suppressed earlier from ONTBIRDS as well). I STRONGLY believe it merits posting here, so that any additional visitors will make absolutely sure to keep their impatience in check, and to ensure not to venture even a millimetre off of the public roads and sidewalks:


I will not post this complainant's name, but I think this bespeaks the total frustration of many of us toward the indifference or total obliviousness of this birder and his tresspassing ways:


Some people may not like the idea of using this board as a way of getting a message out, but this has to get out to everyone on this board.
Today I decided to go have a look for the rare Phainopepla that has been in Brampton all week. I drove all the way from the city, as I was in Humber Bay photographing ducks this morning. On arrival, I saw approximately twenty people on Aberdeen Avenue huddled on the sidewalks and looking with bins or cameras at the front of number 17 Aberdeen.
I approached and asked if the bird had been seen, as it looked as if everyone was viewing it. A lady told me that it had flown into a yew in front of the house, and they believed it was still there.
There was one birder in general that stood out from the crowd, he wore a small leather cap, and wore a small moustache. 
I photographed him in front of the yew, and house number. Not sure if I should post his photo... But I think I will. 
If anyone from the OFO would like to see this guy let me know.
He continually went up the driveway looking into the yew from a foot or two away. All the while everyone else stood back off the property focused on the bush. The people that owned the house (seniors) had what looked like their grandson stringing up the Christmas lights. The birder in question would speak loudly more than once and say, They’re coming this way with the lights that’s it! 
There was a posting to respect the property of others, and some fine folks who live on the street had a sign “welcome birders” and “free coffee”. This guy made it look like a three ring circus.
Then he proceeded to stick his head in the yew and flush the resting bird. I was shocked, and I think others were as well. Some of us work, and cannot make it back there, and others came from afar. I questioned his ethics on the other street as we went to find the bird, and asked him is this the way a birder conducts himself? All the hoopla always about bad photographers and you flush a resting bird? And a rare one at that!
I photographed this buffoon, and hope that if he is a member of the OFO that his membership is revoked.  Many of us due to his total disregard for the bird itself and the others in attendance never got to see the bird. But this guy had already seen the bird, and had a video of it.
I am pretty sure of his name, as I saw him every day at Riverdale Park in Mississauga last winter when the hoary redpolls where there. He said he lives in Mississauga, and not many people where this type of leather hat.
This had to be my worst experience with a person that has little regard to the birds that we all love. This guy totally ruined a great day.


This was clearly not the Ontario birding community's finest hour - I would implore any subsequent visitors to employ far more exemplary behaviour.




Glenn Coady



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