[Tweeters] Re: The Problem with People

Diane Birsner edbirsner at comcast.net
Sun Feb 8 15:09:52 PST 2015

One Sunday about a month ago my partner and I paid a visit to the Eide Rd LEOW pair. About a half-dozen photographers and as many birders came and went during our hour-long stay. We remained a comfortable 50-100 feet from the roosting pair. It helped that we had a spotting scope; our only camera was my iPhone. I’m getting pretty good at digiscoping. We met a lovely woman, Vera C., from Tahoma Audubon, and chatted with her in low tones. We watched a photographer positioned about 20 feet from a roosting owl, talking on his cell phone practically the whole time as he waited for the owl to wake up. At least two other photographers positioned themselves about 10-15 feet from the other roosting owl, but we didn’t notice any harassing behaviors from them other than they were too close and noisy.The scene was a stepped down version of Vancouver’s (BC) Snowy Owls on the dike trail of 3 winters ago, when I witnessed a rush of photographers galloping across the flats to flush owls, somewhat akin to the Oklahoma Land Rush. I was saddened by this behavior and at a loss as to what to say to those photographers then, much as I was this day on Eide Rd. But I do have something to say to them now:

Is your photograph so valuable to you, personally or monetarily, that you’ll risk the life of your subject or its ability to reproduce this year? What does that say about you?

My suggestion, in addition to the others posted in this thread, is to “out" the offending photographers who believe the rules of birding ethics and our wildlife protection laws don’t apply to them. I say hit them where it’ll make the biggest impression—their bank accounts. Or their reputations. So next time I’ll ask for the photographer’s business card, like I’m interested in their work. Some of them must be “professional” with a web site and all. Then I’ll submit a negative review detailing their unethical behavior. I may even document said behavior with an iPhone shot or two. There must be a sight somewhere on the Internet to post such reviews. If not, maybe ABA or a bird conservation organization would be interested in hosting one.

That’s my two cents, thanks for reading.

Happy birding,
Diane Birsner

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