WEST COUNTRY S.W.I.F.T.
Society for the Withholding of Information From Twitchers in the West Country of England
SWIFT consisted of a small band of active birders in the West Country. It was not anti birders who enjoy rare birds, nor was it pro suppression per se. It was against the increasingly disruptive aspects of twitching, where common sense, civility and the aesthetic enjoyment of observing a natural creature has been largely replaced by boorish, sometimes even aggressive behaviour and an often total disregard for the the welfare of the bird involved, habitat, fellow enthusiasts, the general public and property.
The inspiration for SWIFT came from a growing number of distasteful incidents in the West Country. Some examples:
Okay SWIFT was (partly) a spoof, as some had already realised. Sorry for any inconvenience caused by the tanager hoax. But do not overlook the role of the rare bird outlets in tweaking this completely unverified information and then disseminating it. All they had to go on was a Scarlet Tanager, in sycamores near a village in south Cornwall. They "suggested" it might be at The Lizard. Clever move! Without this false clue, no-one would have wasted a journey on one possible small bird somewhere along a very long coastline!
On a general note, let us recognise that some serious and valid points have been raised. These are particularly pertinent following the recent merciless harrassing of tired migrants in north Norfolk and the debacle on Anglesey. To repeat, mass twitching often involves a total disregard for the the welfare of the bird involved, habitat, fellow enthusiasts, the general public and property. These points need to be addressed.