[Tweeters] birding and drones

Martha Jordan mj.cygnus at gmail.com
Tue Mar 1 09:23:06 PST 2016

The temptation to get that perfect shot or a better look at a rare (or not so rare) bird is proving too tempting for some photography oriented people and bird watching enthusiasts.
Within the past 2 weeks an observation was made of several cars parked in the No Stopping zone on Fir Island Road across from the Hayden Farm snow goose area. One person took out his drone and flew it over the road and over the large flock of snow geese. The ensuing panic of the birds was sad to watch—yet spectacular to see with so many birds taking to the air. I am sure he got his “shots”. The danger is: the birds could fly into power lines, and with enough disturbance can deplete their ability to be in peak condition when they head north to breeding grounds. This applies to all the migratory waterfowl.
1. This is illegal and unethical in so many ways: harassment of wildlife, illegal parking, and using a drone on or over WDFW property (yes, it is prohibited to use a drone over any wildlife area or other property owned by WDFW, not even their staff can use drones), and trespass on private property (done so person could stay safer off the road).

If you see this type of behavior, please take photos of the vehicle and license number, the person if you can and a shot or two of what they are doing. Then report this to WDFW immediately, through the the following: or send the photos to WDFW enforcement regional office.
Non-Emergency Poaching Violations or dangerous wildlife complaints: 1-877-933-9847
Text your poaching/violation tip Enter WDFWTIP (a space) and the Report Send to: 847411 (TIP411) Reports are completely anonymous.
You can also go to the website: http://wdfw.wa.gov/enforcement/reporting_violations.html and report it there.

Other chronic violations I and others have observed this year:

A. People walking their dogs on WDFW Wildlife Areas off leash. ALL dogs (except for those with actively engaged hunter activity during hunt season) MUST by law, be on a leash.
This is a growing problem and one detrimental to our wildlife resources: birds, mammals and more. Wildlife Areas are not off leash dog parks.
Enforcement of this is now being done at several WA. Again take photos and report this to the above or send to Mill Creek Regional Office.

B. Photographers and birders walking into the fields or along unpaved drive areas to get the better shot or look at swans, geese, rare species and not so rare.
REMEMBER: Disturbance to the birds includes the birds moving away from you as well as flushing the birds. Respect private property with both your vehicle parking and when
walking. Just because there is no No Trespassing sign does not mean an open gate is an invitation to come on in and trespass.

C. I recently encountered a west side farmer who was very disgusted with “birders” who stop along the roads beside their property and using scopes and binocs, peer into his property. This is on a daily basis with often substantial increase of people peering in on weekends. Imagine if 100 people or more a day stopped by your house and focused camera and scopes into your property day after day after day.... And then a rare bird alert happens and the crowds really come and not just a few are now trampling all over the place.

While we are busy hunting for birds with our binoculars, keep in mind that you can and often do affect the wildlife you have come out to observe or photograph.
How we find a balance of the various user groups on our wildlife lands is key to their continued health as quality habitat for wildlife and quality wildlife recreational activities.

Martha Jordan

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