There are some disturbing headlines coming out of England (Note, for those who don't know, a twitcher is the British term for birder):
Twitchers Accused of Bird's Death (BBC News)
Hounded to Death...By Bird Lovers! (The Mirror)
Bird-brained Twitchers slammed! (The Sun)
The story stems from a complaint that a bunch of birders chased a rare starling "to death" and one of the members of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds asking for an investigation. Here's the BBC's version and here's the Sun's version (interesting to note the difference between the two stories).
On the one hand I think it's very uncool to chase down a rare bird at the expense of its health but on the other hand, I get really tired of over protective people getting worked up about one unhealthy bird. This was one bird way off course and probably in questionable health to begin with. Several people chasing a healthy bird for two days would not kill it, a bird in questionable health...maybe (and that's a big maybe). If its health was that bad, it's a matter of time before it dies anyway regardless of how many people were chasing it to get a glimpse of it. I get irritated with someone wasting all the media attention and effort on one bird in an extreme circumstance. Why don't we get that kind of momentum to solving (note I said solving, not whining about) the problem of millions of birds flying into windows and cell phone towers during migration. I think that doesn't get as much play because we know it's a problem and it seems too big to be able to solve. We're not going to stop using cell phones and skyscrapers, so we need to find ways to alert migrating birds that the structures are there and that is not something that's going to be invented overnight.