Date: 2/27/17 11:19 am
From: Seth Davis <kd7gxf...>
Subject: [Maine-birds] Re: Nature photographers code-regards current Great Gray Owl Conversation
Thanks for posting this, and it has some useful information, but fails to
answer the question that I think is spurring a lot of this discussion
(borderline argument). It says use a lens with a focal length long enough
to avoid getting too close to your subject. That's ok, but what is "too
close"? It sounds as if most photographers at the site are between 100-300
ft, with one report of people getting within 20-30 feet. So where is the
cutoff? If the bird isn't flushing or showing any other sign of distress
ought that be indication that photographers are within an acceptable
distance? If the bird flies toward the crowd (as it has done on several
occasions) should they all turn and run? As I'm writing this, I just
measured out 30 feet from my office and to me that honestly seems ok in
terms of being a safe distance though a little more room wouldn't hurt.
I've certainly been closer to warblers and other birds foraging for food so
I don't see why an owl should be treated differently? It was about 40,
maybe closer to 50 feet that they kept folks at from the nesting Great
Horned Owl in Portland last year and that bird was restricted due to it's
nest. I guess I feel that if people are not actively harassing the bird
(i.e., throwing things at it, baiting it, making a ton of noise to get it's
attention) why all the hubbub about people approaching? A lot of folks seem
to think that it's the humans that are encroaching the bird, when in fact
this whole thing is in the bird's court. It could simply leave and all the
photographers and birders would be sad and probably start pointing blame at
others for scaring it away, and yet it has remained at the site for the
past several days, continues to hunt, and is otherwise not caring about the
mob of people gawking at it.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but nobody can give a clear cut answer as to what is ok
and how far you have to be from a bird. If we're going to have some
standard it should be based on the behavior of the bird, which currently
doesn't seem bothered by people 30 ft away. Photographers should and likely
are aware that if they flush the bird, they ruin it for everyone and
everyone there will be angry specifically at them (which is another part of
the link you posted: Don't ruin it for everyone else). So is it safe to say
that 50 feet is the acceptable minimum?

On Monday, February 27, 2017 at 6:52:55 AM UTC-5, David Small wrote:
> Education is the key at all levels. Each of the more educated/learned are
> responsible to patiently inform the less educated. As the saying goes,"you
> can't legislate morality".
> For the photographers among us, perhaps a refresher is in order, please
> take a look.
> Cheers,
> Daveđź“·

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