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Archive 2013 · Birders vs Photographers
  
 
nikon65
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p.2 #1 · Birders vs Photographers


First, I have great respect for Conrad Tan. He is an AWESOME photographer. Everyone has an opinion. I just came back from a shoot in Canada for Great Grey owls. I ran into two ornithologists while I was shooting. They seemed more interested in what we where doing, than photographing and enjoying the birds. I spoke to one of the men, and he told me about all his studies of birds. He also told me about how he was involved in a netting project with saw-whet owls for banning. I know this act is for research, but I don't know of anything that would stress out a bird more than that. Also, he was the ONLY person I saw using a flash. That is good for the owls eyesight. These owls are their for one reason: FOOD. I saw three different attempts that an owl tried to catch prey on his own. The snow was like concrete, and all three trys where unsucsessful. Yes, they will kill on their own. But if an owl was full on his own, I don't care what you put in front of him, they may not come in at all. And it's LEGAL. I'm more interested in have a rabbit hunter arrested for shooting an owl with a shotgun, because he said the owl was eating all of HIS rabbits. We all need to stop digging each other, and enjoy nature. Yes people can get out of hand. But we aren't all bad. And one last thing. I just read a study on house cats. These animals kill 3.2 BILLION birds a year in the U.S. alone. I wish everyone a Great Day !!!!


Feb 03, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Sunny Sra
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p.2 #2 · Birders vs Photographers


We can use Conrad is bait now...now that he can't run far when the gophers attack


Feb 03, 2013 at 04:23 PM
Kenj8246
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p.2 #3 · Birders vs Photographers


Interesting reading. Thanks, Conrad, for posting. I, too, am conflicted about the issue. While I haven't yet baited birds, I have been 'guilty' of baiting honeyees occasionally to take macro images. Do the ends justify the means? That is open for debate. I've been told by apiarists that, if done in moderation, it's not harmful. Still, the practice is what it is and reasonable folks will disagree. I, too, congratulate Conrad for his civil discourse on the matter with 'someone from the other side'.

Kenny



Feb 03, 2013 at 04:31 PM
eyelaser
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p.2 #4 · Birders vs Photographers


While I won't weigh in publicly on this issue, I do applaud the civil nature of the de-bait
I have expressed my feelings on this issue to Conrad in a private message. While this is an important topic to a degree it pales in comparison to many other much more relevant societal issues.
Eric



Feb 03, 2013 at 04:41 PM
uz2work
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p.2 #5 · Birders vs Photographers


Kenj8246 wrote:
I've been told, if done in moderation, it's not harmful.

Kenny


That is, perhaps, the most important point of my previous post.

What an individual photographer does may not have a negative impact on the bird/animal, but, when an owl or other creature has been baited daily for weeks by dozens/hundreds of individuals and when the situation is such that, when the owl sees a car pulling up, it immediately flies to a perch as close as it can find to that car and waits for the bait to be offered, it becomes difficult to understand how one could rationalize and conclude that the cummulative effect of all the photographers is not influencing the behavior of that owl and causing it to behave in a way different from what is natural. And, with the internet being what it is, there is a virtual guarantee that unusual wildlife sightings are going to attract large numbers of photographers and lead to such a cumulative effect caused by what they do.

Years ago, I decided that I wanted my approach toward wildlife photography to be one in which my goal was to have the subjects behave in the same manner that they would behave had I not been there. For as much as I enjoy watching and photographing wildlife, I try to be mindful that the wildlife is not there and is not doing what it is doing for the purpose of providing me with pleasure. Everything that wildlife does, in reality, is a part of a constant and continued struggle for survival, and, if my behavior causes the subject to behave in a manner different from what it would be doing naturally, I'm not willing to take the chance, even if it is only a small possibility, that what I have done is decreasing the subject's chances of survival. Even if my behavior cannot be proved with certainty to be harmful to the subject, my choice is to error on the side of caution, and I can live with not getting the picture.


Les



Feb 03, 2013 at 04:50 PM
birdied
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p.2 #6 · Birders vs Photographers


Very interesting and thought provoking reading. I guess I am "guilty" of baiting with the hummingbird feeders or the plants that I grow to attract them. So many sides to this issue. Not sure there is a definitive right or wrong answer.
Too many variables to consider in my opinion.

Here is south Louisiana, the only baiting I have ever witnessed is swamp tour operators feeding the alligators . They do this so that they will come close to the boat.
I personally think this is wrong and potentially dangerous on so many different levels.

Here is a story of baiting gone very wrong .

Rhino

Conrad your image is amazing as always. Your response and discussion with the lady is to be commended. Nice to see that there can be opposing views discussed with respect .

Birdie




Feb 03, 2013 at 05:04 PM
Kenj8246
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p.2 #7 · Birders vs Photographers


uz2work wrote:
That is, perhaps, the most important point of my previous post.

What an individual photographer does may not have a negative impact on the bird/animal, but, when an owl or other creature has been baited daily for weeks by dozens/hundreds of individuals and when the situation is such that, when the owl sees a car pulling up, it immediately flies to a perch as close as it can find to that car and waits for the bait to be offered, it becomes difficult to understand how one could rationalize and conclude that the cummulative effect of all the photographers is
...Show more

Point taken, Les.



Feb 03, 2013 at 05:09 PM
uz2work
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p.2 #8 · Birders vs Photographers


I'd like to share a brief personal anecdote of the kind of situation that leads me to have the feelings about baiting that I have.

I had been documenting the progress of a bald eagle nest. The nest was in a public park and near to areas where people were camping, having picnics, fishing, boating, etc. After the single eaglet from the nest fledged, people who had been fishing were often offering fish to the fledgling, and campers and those participating in picnics were often offering it scraps of food. Some bald eagle fledglings start catching their own food as soon as they leave the nest, and most others will be catching fish independently within 3-4 weeks after they have fledged. This bird was still not catching its own food over 2 months after it left the nest. At that time, it was still trying to beg food from its parents and, unfortunately, from people when it disappeared and when I saw it for the last time.

Further, the bird developed no fear whatever of humans. There were two occasions when I didn't know where the bird was and when I unknowingly walked right up to where it was roosting, and the bird did not fly. Once, when it was sitting on a fence post, and, as I walked toward the fence post without knowing that the bird was there, I came close enough to it that, when it opened its wings, one of them slapped my on the side of my face. But the bird still did not fly.

I would like to think that the bird is now doing just fine on its own, but logic also tells me that its trust of people and reliance on people for its meals did not increase its chances of survival. Once again, I'm not particularly concerned about anything that an individual person may do, but it is the cumulative effect of what many people may be doing that can cause behavior changes that have the potential to negatively impact the survival chances of a bird/animal.

Les



Feb 03, 2013 at 05:22 PM
trenchmonkey
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p.2 #9 · Birders vs Photographers


Got a pic of Charlene might bait HER...if given the opportunity
Agree with the views of "no harm-no foul" group (pun not intended)
I go out of my way not to stress my subjects, and would never upset
the delicate balance betwixt territory and natural foodchain. My call.



Feb 03, 2013 at 05:23 PM
Imagemaster
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p.2 #10 · Birders vs Photographers


nikon65 wrote:
And one last thing. I just read a study on house cats. These animals kill 3.2 BILLION birds a year in the U.S. alone.


And that is just a small percentage of the number of animals killed by humans.

I won't go into how chickens, turkeys, pigs, etc. are raised and slaughtered in animal prisons. We know that domestic animals don't have the same rights as wildlife.



Feb 03, 2013 at 05:45 PM
 

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p.2 #11 · Birders vs Photographers


#1 - No baiting used. Shot from blind and eagle unaware of my presence.

#2 - A water-feature for bathing was provided. The Hummingbirds loved using it every day and I took advantage of the situation.

#3 - Food was provided and he posed for me.

The word "bait" suggests to me something that will lure an animal for the purpose of capture or killing.





#1







#2







#3




Feb 03, 2013 at 06:01 PM
brad_w
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p.2 #12 · Birders vs Photographers


For those of you who aren't familiar with my posts (and admittedly there aren't many of them), I'm a very straight shooter. Please take my comments below in that context:

I’ve got a lot of thoughts on this one, and most are motivated by my background as photojournalist, 10 years shooting daily news. The only person who knows the full context of a photo is the photographer. For that reason we have heck of a job to do, convincing others that our efforts are legit.

There are three main reasons this photo is bad news:
1. It hurts the animal, as described by the biologist on FB.
2. It hurts photography. Viewers begin to think that the only way to get a good photo is to bait (ie. manipulate the animal, their life habits and habitat) A manipulated photo, a photo of a manipulated scene, is a visual lie. The image itself is the story. Captions are secondary at best.
3. Other shooters begin to think baiting is an acceptable technique, compounding problems 1 and 2.

It’s a triple-whammy, and all aspects undermine the legitimacy and integrity of the image, the endeavor and the photographer. Everyone looses.

If you want to know what working pros think of this stuff, watch those at the top of the game. The big guns at the Geographic don’t bait. The top documentary filmmakers don’t bait and don’t interfere with the cycles of life and death they document. Keep in mind that their jobs and livelihoods depend on the results they produce. If they don't come back with the goods, they're out of a job. And again: they don’t bait. Look up the NPPA Code of Ethics if you want to understand their norms and justifications. This isn’t an “agree to disagree” thing. Baiting is a bad move. Period.




Feb 03, 2013 at 07:00 PM
Gary Lee 44
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p.2 #13 · Birders vs Photographers


I'm on your side on this one Conrad. Where do you draw the line? And my hat is off to you for your being a gentleman with the Lady. I don't know a W/L photographer who would knowingly do anthing to harm the creatures they have learned to love. I'm sure there are some out there, but I don't know one. Great photo MY FRIEND. And keep doing your thing. All of us enjoy your work.
Gary



Feb 03, 2013 at 07:09 PM
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p.2 #14 · Birders vs Photographers


A photo, manipulated or not, is a visual lie of reality. As for working pros or top documentary filmmakers never using bait or confined animals, that is a joke.

Filmmakers routinely splice together snippets of animal behaviour, making it appear as one continuous shoot. Many magazines have printed shots of animals that were baited and/or taken in game farms.

Only the photographer knows the true facts behind his images.

Remember how many viewers were duped by "Wild Kingdom", which at the time was filmed by supposedly top documentary filmmakers?



Feb 03, 2013 at 07:10 PM
santila
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p.2 #15 · Birders vs Photographers


+1 for Conrad. Just keep up the great work and enjoyed wildlife or birds as you see it.


Feb 03, 2013 at 07:21 PM
hawky
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p.2 #16 · Birders vs Photographers


nikon65 wrote:
First, I have great respect for Conrad Tan. He is an AWESOME photographer. Everyone has an opinion. I just came back from a shoot in Canada for Great Grey owls. I ran into two ornithologists while I was shooting. They seemed more interested in what we where doing, than photographing and enjoying the birds. I spoke to one of the men, and he told me about all his studies of birds. He also told me about how he was involved in a netting project with saw-whet owls for banning. I know this act is for research, but I don't
...Show more

Very well written-I agree with you.

Conrad-Great job sharing this topic with us-it is good to interact and exchange perspectives. I like oyur replies to the lady.

I also just came back a few moments ago from a trip to Ottawa. I had a great time-saw four Great Gray Owls. I also observed that I was standing on snow that was iced over-broke through once and went to my kneecap-I am 6 foot tall. Normally the snow is softer and the owls can hear the mice and plow into the snow to get them. I have never personally baited owls and have been neutral on the topic until now. While we were there a number of the local folks came with boxes of mice and they were letting them out and the owls were grabbing them and gorging themselves. It caused my wife and I to stop and wonder-we participated in taking photographs-we were there. I am pleased that we had the opportunity and I am pleased it gave me an opportunity to stop and think through this subject with logic. We met many very nice folks and all in all I think the situation was no different than the placement of a humming bird feeder or a song bird feeder in the back lawn.

As one of my friends has put it-he sees it no different than wildlife folks and photographers lining up in Lamar Valley to watch murder in action. I find a lot of hypocrisy in many of those that have issues with "baiting". Many times they are the same ones "reintroducing" species to areas where that species never existed-but that si a different topic.



Feb 03, 2013 at 08:11 PM
Howard Kearley
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p.2 #17 · Birders vs Photographers


No baiting from me, but have waited a long time and put in a lot of time for some shots
We have a bad name in the UK with Birders, think we scare everything off, interesting as all the birders I've met are so noisy.

Beautiful shot Conrad.

Howard




Feb 03, 2013 at 08:13 PM
sinh-nhut
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p.2 #18 · Birders vs Photographers


With the way we are, our whole world is going down the toilet regardless. So I say we should do whatever it takes to get the shot, cause that's the only way our future generations will ever get to know what a bald eagle or an snowy owl or an osprey looks like. Shoot away guys and gals. Sorry for being so pessimistic

Great shot Conrad, I also enjoy your white tailed kite shots.

Nate



Feb 03, 2013 at 08:22 PM
Steve Shinn
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p.2 #19 · Birders vs Photographers


First, the distinction between “birders” and “photographers” is about as a clear as that between liberals and conservatives. Some birders worship their practice as a religion while some photographers would trample a sanctuary and stand on their dead relatives to “get the shot”. More commonly we now find BWAC or birders-with-a-camera. Each group is often heard to say that they “have got” some specie or another (be it on a “list” or CF card) with photographers lusting after the perfect BOAS shot(bird-on-a-stick).

To the argument on baiting: it seems more than a little presumptive to believe that humans can live near birds and other animals without influencing their behavior. Many animals have even evolved adaptations to human presence; e.g. early wolves living near humans adopted genes allowing them to metabolize carbohydrates in foods discarded by villages so that our modern, domestic dogs can readily digest sticky buns while wolves cannot. Peregrines and other birds build nests on just about every human structure from skyscrapers to traffic signals. We see coyotes, opossums, skunks, raccoons, deer, moose, bear and even cougars visiting and even thriving in long established cities that have taken over their habitats. Most nature preserves have bird feeders set to attract birds for human viewing.

Too many people are making too many people. As long as that continues we are doomed to further damage indigenous wildlife. Mind you, I’m NOT saying that baiting should be adopted as a widespread practice (a bit moot since it already has), it just seems a bit silly to raise a stink over tossing the occasional rat to an opportunistic bird. Be it to get a fine shot or just to get rid of the rat.

Keep up the good work Conrad.


Edited on Feb 04, 2013 at 05:06 PM · View previous versions



Feb 03, 2013 at 08:29 PM
morris
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p.2 #20 · Birders vs Photographers


First off many birds and other animals can tell one human form another and will get closer to their friends. They also read body language quiet well and can tell when an approaching animal including human animal are a threat to them. Of cause they make errors and it’s not just with humans and sometimes it’s there last error.

I don’t bait when I shoot except at my bird feeder and many of the birds that feed there know me. When I went out to fill the feeder this snowy morning a finch spotted me and called out to the others that I was filling the feeder. They gathered and waited for me to give them space before feeding. Even with the friend that feeds them they still used some caution.

Generalizations are bad when it comes to the way we treat wildlife. There are plenty of people that say you must stay x distance away to avoid stressing the wildlife. Some people need to be that distance away while others could be much closer and not stress the wildlife as they do not radiate a threat because of their approach and body language.

I’m known for taking extremely closer portraits and I’m not bating. I simply let my subjects become used to my presence. Then they approach me.

Morris



Feb 03, 2013 at 08:57 PM
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