[Tweeters] snowys at Boundary Bay

Mark Myers myers5448 at gmail.com
Mon Feb 6 19:25:35 PST 2012


I was one of the many who paid a visit to Boundary Bay last weekend to see
the plentiful snowy owls. It was an amazing sight to see so many within a
relatively small space.
The large number of birders didn't detract from the experience at all, but
the discourteous 20 or so photographers blundering their way through the
grasses/marsh certainly made it difficult to stay for very long.

I know there have been many posts about photogs vs birders, and I'm not
painting all wildlife photographers with a broad stroke, but the ones that
were at Boundary Bay on Saturday showed a total and complete lack of
respect/care for the habitat, the owls, and birders. Instead of
respecting the birds' space, it appeared the more important goal was was to
get the money shot (which I guess meant flushing the birds from their
roost). Their long lenses certainly should have allowed them to get
decent photos from a respectable distance. One photographer flushed an
owl that was perched close to the levee and was being observed by a cluster
of birders with more respect and courtesy. The guy should have
been slapped upside the head (I'm not one of those polite Canadians,
sorry.....).

In my 36 years of birding, I was taught that respecting the space of birds
was the priority. Allowing them to display natural behaviors, giving them
the space they need to carry on with their lives without unwanted influence
by people. It's a good lesson for anyone observing wildlife. At the
very least, photographers that have not taken the time to learn
much about their subjects may want to learn this very basic lesson about
animal behavior..........few animals are comfortable being surrounded and
approached from all fronts. Try it with a Grizzly if you don't believe
me.

Sorry to stir the pot on this subject, but what I saw at Boundary
Bay certainly didn't do much good for the reputation of wildlife
photographers. I'd feel the same way if they had been birders, trust me.

Mark Myers
Bothell, WA
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