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birding and listed species

There are good sides and bad sides to the combination.
On the good side…
Birders are a great source of data for listed or sensitive species. Thanks to eBird (in particular) and other citizen science platforms, recording your observations has become easy. Similarly, it is
easy for agencies and researchers to retrieve those data and put it to good use. 
May I also suggest that adding comments is helpful when recording any sensitive species. This is a good thing to do anytime, even in areas where the species is expected (such as California Gnatcatchers
in typical habitat in coastal San Diego County). But may I also suggest that adding comments is a "must" for detections that are at all out of the ordinary — even if it isn't "flagged" by eBird's filters. The comment field is not only for you to provide info
to confirm your identification but also an opportunity to add other specific information that might add greater meaning to your observation — beyond a point on a map or a cog in a modeler's wheel. I want you to know that your observations are put to use,
and comments and other info — such as breeding codes — add to the utility of your data. 

And if you have concerns about reporting sensitive species in eBird, see the platform's recommendation on how to address such species here: https://ebird.org/news/sensitive_species.

On the bad side…

Birding can put stress on these vulnerable species. Using audio playbacks is pretty much always problematic
for these species, and it could
 possibly land you
into legal trouble. Some photographers push the envelope to get the good shot. And so on… you've heard the lecture before — and yet somehow it seems to need regular reiteration. 

One should always practice good birding ethics, but it is particularly important when dealing with listed
and sensitive species. 
May I suggest reviewing ABA's Code of Birding Ethics (and you needn't be an ABA member to follow the code). I reproduced several entries that are apropos to the current topic.
1(b) Avoid stressing birds or exposing them to danger. Be particularly cautious around active nests and nesting colonies, roosts, display sites, and feeding sites. Limit the use of recordings
and other audio methods of attracting birds, particularly in heavily birded areas, for species that are rare in the area, and for species that are threatened or endangered. Always exercise caution and restraint when photographing, recording, or otherwise approaching
birds.


1(c) Always minimize habitat disturbance. Consider the benefits of staying on trails, preserving snags, and similar practices.

3(b) Familiarize yourself with and follow all laws, rules, and regulations governing activities at your birding location. In particular, be aware of regulations related to birds, such as disturbance
of protected nesting areas or sensitive habitats, and the use of audio or food lures.
Here are some of the listed and sensitive bird species in the region:
California Condor

Swainson's Hawk
Bald Eagle
Peregrine Falcon
Black Rail
Ridgway's Rail
Snowy Plover (coastal populations)
Least Tern
Yellow-Billed Cuckoo
Elf Owl
Spotted Owl
Gilded Flicker
Willow Flycatcher (nesting)
Loggerhead Shrike (coastal)
Bell’S Vireo
California Gnatcatcher
Belding's Savannah Sparrow
Tricolored Blackbird

For more info, see:

And here's a list of sensitive species:

Thanks for being part of the solution and not part of the problem. 
Sincerely,
-Gjon
Encinitas, CA


– – –
Gjon Hazard 
Encinitas 
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports