Date: 11/30/18 11:02 am
From: Alan Contreras <acontrer56...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Apology note from the yellow jacket sporting-bluebird-"asshole"-photographer
Yo, Jake. We’re glad to have you as part of our large and generally friendly birding community. We have had a very useful discussion. Many have benefitted from it. Your willingness to engage with us now (and the quality of that engagement) pretty much ensures your welcome in our community.

Now let’s all get back out to the field. It won’t be raining for at least 23 minutes.

Regards - El Curmudgeon


Alan Contreras
<acontrer56...>
Eugene, Oregon

www.alanlcontreras.com



> On Nov 30, 2018, at 10:54 AM, Jacob Bourque <jakebourque...> wrote:
>
> Dear Members of OBOL and The Portland Birding Community,
>
> I’d like to identify myself as the bluebird photographer from the Dharma Center that has caused a bit of stir in the community over the past 24 hours or so. I’ve been taking time to read the posts and thoughts from the community on this forum before formulating a response that I felt appropriately reflected the issues at hand.
>
> In regards to the events that transpired yesterday, I’d like to go into a bit of detail as I think various opinions and accounts have inflamed the issue, or led to misguided information. I began my morning at the Dharma Center around 10:30am, as I was aware of the Eastern Bluebird sightings that had been accounted for. I had been to the Dharma Center on both Monday and Tuesday of this week, much like the rest of the community, in the hopes of seeing the pair of vagrant Eastern Bluebirds. On Thursday morning I proceeded into the open field as I witnessed another birder with binoculars already in that location, assuming it would be appropriate to do so. I laid amongst the reeds for an hour or so until the bluebirds arrived, at which point I drew my lens and snapped a few shots.
>
> Looking back, I do believe my subtle movements and brightly colored yellow jacket likely led to the bird’s retreat from the area (I usually wear camo gear and have a blind when shooting). While I did my very best to avoid this outcome, I now realize that venturing into the field was an intrusion of the bird’s habitat, and an annoyance to the rest of the community that also came to the Dharma Center with expectations of seeing these rarities.
>
> After exiting the field, I received a number of unfriendly glances from other birders, and it slowly became obvious that I had overstepped some boundaries. I then began discussing the situation with Jack, and concluded that while I was not wrong to enter the field, it was an unethical move that likely spooked the birds.
>
> As an avid birder with a background in ornithology and ecology, I have spent years both studying and admiring this country’s beautiful birds from as far east as Massachusetts, where I was born, to as far west as Southern California. In that span of time I have come to understand so much about the rules and regulations of the ABA and ethical photography guidelines, but am still learning as I’m sure we all are in a sense. This hobby is ever evolving, and at 24 years of age, I still have much to learn. A new generation of birders my age and younger will soon hold the responsibility of protecting and showcasing all of the birds we make the extra effort to seek out and watch, and I take a personal interest in seeing to it that we are educated properly.
>
> After looking back on this event, I would like to sincerely apologize. It was never my intent to disrupt the bluebird’s habitat, or the experiences of other photographers and birders in the area. In the future, I ask that members in the birding community speak to me - or anyone for that matter - directly when such mishaps take place, as opposed to creating potential witch hunts or doxxing situations where my photograph is ‘leaked’ so as to expose me online. I think the last thing this form of engagement with wildlife needs is a community determined to shun or reject those that are learning and share a deep admiration for this hobby. I intend to continue looking for the Eastern Bluebirds, but will now do so with a more systematic and respectful approach.
>
> Thank you everyone for the opportunity to be a part of this amazing community. Having only lived in Portland for approximately 6 months, I am astounded by the love and admiration others have for birding throughout the Pacific Northwest. It truly warms my heart. I shall see you all out there again, though likely not in a brightly colored yellow jacket. Please feel free to stop me and chat, as I welcome any and all engagement with fellow enthusiasts in the community. I apologize once again, and thank you for the understanding.
>
> Your fellow birder,
>
> Jake Bourque
>


 
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