[Tweeters] How to Flush a Snowy Owl

Marc Hoffman tweeters at dartfrogmedia.com
Tue Feb 7 15:35:03 PST 2012

This really is despicable and, as Tracey Kidston wrote, not only bad
for the birds but a challenge to the respectability of nature
photographers. As a nature photographer, I now wonder if I'll be
persona nongratis among my birder cohorts. I humbly admit I sometimes
creep up on birds, too. But I know the signs of a bird getting upset,
and can almost always back off in time to avoid flushing it. If by
mistake I do flush a bird, I take it most seriously and remember to
be even more conservative in the future. And I make a special point
of not crowding birds that already are getting a lot of human attention.

If you look closely at the video, the signs of bird discomfort were
there: the owl was becoming more alert, turning to look at the
photographer. The photographer had plenty of opportunity to back off
if he cared. There were two other photographers with him, one of them
with probably a 500mm Canon lens -- indicating at least a $6,000
financial investment and, one would think, some experience with wild
birds -- yet neither of them apparently said a word to dissuade the
harrasser, which is just irresponsible all-around. I have trouble
coming up with any excuse for this situation. Maybe, as some have
suggested, he was just being ignorant or unconscious. But I don't buy it.

Marc Hoffman

At 02:28 PM 2/7/2012, K wrote:

>I joined the crowd at Boundary Bay last week to view the Snowy Owl

>spectacle. Like others have posted recently, the owls were amazing,

>but I was appalled with the behavior of some photographers

>completely ignoring "don't leave the trail" signs and flushing owls

>repeatedly. It was a hot topic of conversation on the dike all day,

>involving lots of colorful language and frustrated observers. I

>even met a birder from Switzerland whose first words to me were "Can

>you believe this?", as we watched a guy running toward an owl to get

>the shot. Has it always been this bad, or has the advent and

>increased affordability of digital cameras exaggerated the issue?


>Check out this youtube video for a first hand look:




>Keith Bagnall

>Bellingham, WA

>kebagnall at gmail.com

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