One of the few other data-collecting site I use is NestWatch because I tend to be good at finding bird nests. So I’ve been using my knowledge to help identify all the eggs and nests with no ids on iNat. However I see quite a few observations where the photographer is clearly breaking protection laws such as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Namely these actions include, holding/moving nests with eggs or young in the nest, holding eggs/young for photos, etc. The following link is the most severe case I’ve seen on the site where the observer took a bluebird nest out of the box for photo.
Now if you click the link, I posted a message along with the id that it’s illegal to even touch the nesting material, let alone pull the nest out and hold it. This is not the first time I’ve posted a message like this. I also mentioned all the severe affects the close encounter could have on the nest. I’m just wondering, was I too rough on person. I was trying to show I guess tough love on the person, be stern about what’s wrong in the photo but try to get them change their ways and still have a desire to check boxes or nests. I guess this is a touchy subject because I try to think of the consequences of either telling them it’s illegal or not. And the list I’ve provided are all negative.
- Repetitive illegal actions by the observer is more likely and nest success rate may drop.
- People follow by example; other identifiers may see these observations and think it’s okay to hold or touch nests as long as you’re “careful”. Perhaps this is the reason why there are so many observations like this.
Telling the person:
- Person may and likely will get defensive and try to justify their actions.
- Person may think I will call game wardens on them or something.
- Person may just stop using iNat in general to avoid “offensive” comments.
So I guess what the opinions of those who’ve encountered observations like this? I’m wondering if we can add a Data Quality value that deals with law abiding observations and if an observation violates that, it gets a casual grade so that way no mistakes are repeated by other observers. I think the biggest problem we’ll encounter is observing with double standards and I myself is included. I like herping (reptile/amphibian catching) just to observe the species up close and sometimes it is necessary to catch them, such as the reptile being on a roadway. Yet in my home state of Oregon, most of the reptiles are protected under similar laws to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, where I’m not even allowed to touch the reptile. So it’s like, where do we draw the line on what’s acceptable or not. Alright, I’ll leave it at that.