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Archive 2013 · Birders vs Photographers
  
 
Harry.C
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p.10 #1 · p.10 #1 · Birders vs Photographers


This photo showed up on my facebook page this morning and seemed relevant to the discussion (I've hidden the photographer's face and name):






I guess this is what happens on the extreme end of the no-bait versus bait spectrum. Are any "no bait" arguments really going to sway someone with so little sense as this?



Feb 10, 2013 at 02:11 PM
uz2work
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p.10 #2 · p.10 #2 · Birders vs Photographers


Harry.C wrote:
This photo showed up on my facebook page this morning and seemed relevant to the discussion (I've hidden the photographer's face and name):
http://colquhoun.smugmug.com/photos/i-wHMh3Ln/0/X3/i-wHMh3Ln-X3.jpg

I guess this is what happens on the extreme end of the no-bait versus bait spectrum. Are any "no bait" arguments really going to sway someone with so little sense as this?


It is unfortunate, but there seems to be a growing number of those with "so little sense" (and ethics) with each passing year, and it is also unfortunate that some of them call this board their internet home. What might eventually sway them is when others with more sense (and ethics) stop defending them and stop giving meaningless praise to the photos that result from their baiting.

Les



Feb 10, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Steve McDonald
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p.10 #3 · p.10 #3 · Birders vs Photographers



I wonder if the guy in the photo still has a hand in working condition?



Feb 10, 2013 at 02:39 PM
Harry.C
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p.10 #4 · p.10 #4 · Birders vs Photographers


Just in case my position is unclear: I believe there is a world of difference between dropping a mouse to bait a wild owl that sees little human contact versus baiting so often you teach the owl to grab a mouse from your hand. While I wouldn't do either I see little harm in the former I see nothing but harm in the latter.


Feb 10, 2013 at 02:48 PM
uz2work
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p.10 #5 · p.10 #5 · Birders vs Photographers


Harry.C wrote:
Just in case my position is unclear: I believe there is a world of difference between dropping a mouse to bait a wild owl that sees little human contact versus baiting so often you teach the owl to grab a mouse from your hand. While I wouldn't do either I see little harm in the former I see nothing but harm in the latter.


What about dropping dozens of mice each day for many weeks within a few dozen yards of dozens of humans with cameras pointed at the owl?



Feb 10, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Harry.C
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p.10 #6 · p.10 #6 · Birders vs Photographers


uz2work wrote:
What about dropping dozens of mice each day for many weeks within a few dozen yards of dozens of humans with cameras pointed at the owl?

I would draw the line at 6 mice per day. /sarcasm

...seriously, what do you want from this thread? As soon as you stop treating this like a black and white topic perhaps we can have an informed discussion.



Feb 10, 2013 at 03:23 PM
uz2work
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p.10 #7 · p.10 #7 · Birders vs Photographers


Harry.C wrote:
I would draw the line at 6 mice per day. /sarcasm

...seriously, what do you want from this thread? As soon as you stop treating this like a black and white topic perhaps we can have an informed discussion.


I'm thought I had made it quite clear at least a couple of times that I don't think of it as a black and white topic. I (and others) have made it clear that we don't consider making a commitment to properly maintain a bird feeder in the same way that we consider repeated and continuous baiting of owls. I consider the properly maintained bird feeder to be, at worst, ambiguous with regard to its impact on the birds. I consider the way that owls are being baited as creating real risk to the owls.

I've also stated that, even though I don't support baiting raptors under any circumstances, I'm much less concerned about the guy who goes out on his own, comes across an owl, and gives it a snack of one or two mice than I am about the situation where the same owls are being fed dozens of mice each day by dozens of photographers over a period of weeks and where those owls clearly end up associating humans (and vehicles) with their source of food.

Further, I make a distinction between baiting raptors and the kind of example a few posts up contending that geese are being "baited" by the planting of a lawn. That lawn is always going to be there, and it doesn't cause the geese to associate their food supplies with humans. The owl that is being baited with mice or the eagle that is being baited with fish is, not only likely to associate humans with its source of food, but it is also put at risk when the humans collectively decide that they've had enough "fun" getting their "bucket list" pictures and they discontinue the baiting, which leaves the birds in a situation where they have a limited amount of time to find another source of food in an area where the natural food supply may not be sufficient to sustain the number of birds that have been attracted to and kept in the area by the baiting.

I don't know how to make it clearer that I don't view all forms of baiting in an identical fashion.



Les



Feb 10, 2013 at 03:46 PM
Del Mecum
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p.10 #8 · p.10 #8 · Birders vs Photographers


So then should all the L&D be closed down and made nonoperational during eagle migration? That after all is a man made item that is unnaturally feeding the eagles WHERE there is human interactions.

Go out to the Rockies and watch the feds feed the elk and talk to me about keeping it real.



Feb 10, 2013 at 04:06 PM
JeffAUSTIN
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p.10 #9 · p.10 #9 · Birders vs Photographers


Using the eagle lady as an example of long term baiting was due to the fact that she did the same thing for many years and provides imo a valuable study on the topic. The main reasons the law was passed was due to humans complaining not for the safety of the birds, but because the birds were getting in our way becoming an annoyance. Her feeding the eagles actually helped increase the survival rate of immature balde eagles over the winter months by 25% by some numbers.

and now that she has passed and the Law implemented I havent heard of any negative effects on the eagles from her previous 30 years of baiting.

my point with these examples is that it isnt bad for the bird unless its bad for humans first. Thats the real reason for the topic is that it pisses off some humans so lets have a fight man to man and see who wins. nothing to do about being harmful to the bird. Birds know how to survive.




Feb 10, 2013 at 04:07 PM
uz2work
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p.10 #10 · p.10 #10 · Birders vs Photographers


JeffAUSTIN wrote:
Her feeding the eagles actually helped increase the survival rate of immature balde eagles over the winter months by 25% by some numbers.



Quite to the contrary, much of the concern over her situation was over the effect on the young eagles. During their first year of life and even through their second year, eagles are still working to perfect their skills at hunting/fishing. A major reason for not shutting her operation down all at once was that those young birds, because she had become their primary source of food, had not developed the skills that they would have needed to get their own food. Concern was expressed by the Fish and Wildlife Service and many others that, because her feeding of the birds had attracted more birds into the area than the natural food supply could sustain and that there would be mass starvation if the baiting was discontinued all at once, and, while this concern was expressed regarding all of the eagles, that concern was at a heightened level regarding the younger birds.

Further, there is little question that those eagles had developed an unnatural trust for humans. When birds are literally approaching people and begging for food, their ability to survive is compromised. Many might know the story of the eagle that performs regularly at events like the Super Bowl, baseball games, etc. during the Star Spangled Banner. There is nothing physically wrong with it that would prevent it from being released into the wild, but, during its rehabilitation and preparation for being released into wild, it came to trust people. Multiple attempts were made to release the bird. Each time it was released, it ended up going to picnics, campsites, etc., and it approached people and begged for food. Frightened people then began chasing it with baseball bats, sticks, etc., and it was finally decided that, for its own safety, the bird could not be released in the wild. A raptor who trusts people is in trouble, and there is little question that the Homer eagles came to trust people more than they should have.


While you may want to use Jean Keene as an example of why baiting is okay, she has more often been considered to be the poster child for why baiting should not be done.


Edited on Feb 10, 2013 at 04:40 PM · View previous versions



Feb 10, 2013 at 04:34 PM
 

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eyelaser
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p.10 #11 · p.10 #11 · Birders vs Photographers


I have read every point-counterpoint and I have reached the conclusion that unfortunately we will just have to agree to disagree on the subject and no amount of thrust and parry will change anyone's mind.
I do hope we all aim to behave ethically and those actions that cause harm are examined with a level head.
So with that, and getting a little bored with this I leave you with this image and an article that you might find interesting if not entertaining.
Eric

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/06/sniff-test-mens-cologne-used-to-attract-big-cats/1#.URfHo-iJUsg

And while not a jaguar it does adequately demonstrate how I'm starting to feel about this thread.








Feb 10, 2013 at 04:34 PM
big country
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p.10 #12 · p.10 #12 · Birders vs Photographers


If that snowy owl shot is in the wild, I'm sure that people will rationalize and justify the person hand feeding the snowy. They probably had that on their bucket list too, "Handfeeding snowy owl...CHECK!"

Oh well, people are going to do whatever they want regardless of the impact or long term outcome.

I guess we have to draw the line somewhere based on our knowledge & ethics and go from there. Hopefully when we post photos on a website and get the praise we are looking for, we can look ourselves in the mirror and be happy and confident at how we achieved the shot.



Feb 10, 2013 at 04:57 PM
gkor
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p.10 #13 · p.10 #13 · Birders vs Photographers


Anyone looking for standards / ethics in their wildlife photography: do your research and use that to make a decision. The most important is to realize that an activity that is not deemed illegal is not necessarily appropriate.

First and foremost, as photographers we are considered wildlife watchers. If you take photos of birds, you are some sort of birder. As a result, if you really need to find a set of standards to apply to your photography, there is nothing wrong in beginning with what a birder would follow. Furthermore, just “google” wildlife photography ethics and I can assure you that you will find what you need. From there you can work out what is appropriate and what is not. Any wildlife photographer (either professional, hobbyist or beginner) should think about ethics before even going out with a camera: most do. This is common sense and whatever some may say, respect is high on the list every time.

As far as being a free for all attitude for a growing number of photographers because it is not illegal, the idea is totally inappropriate. Masturbating is not illegal, but doing in public or posting images on line in the public arena (in this forum for example) will only get one in trouble: if not by the law at least from the people seeing it. The use of common sense is definitely on the decline in this instant gratification world, people do not think. The shoot first and ask questions later seems to be the norm for some.
Yes, if there is something I do not want to see here, I can certainly ignore it, which I do regularly. My decision is based on several factors: one of them being subject matter. Sites like this one are used for people to show their work. Most people with a history here (very regular posters) consider themselves photographers. I am sorry to say that for some (maybe the “silent majority”) ethics are at least equally important as technical skills. The more skill one possess the more thought is given to the activity of photography. At least that should be the natural evolution to make any photographer a more mature photographer. The post count is irrelevant as most of those posts can be summed up to posts such as “great shot/s” whether such comment is warranted or not. There is very little education happening. Egos are developed here (among many other forums) from friendships and “high school” type reasons. The post count does not make one a better photographer. It does not improve one’s skills. It may in certain circumstances elevate one’s ego and popularity among certain sub-support groups of “friends”. Human behavior? Yes. Immature behavior? Yes.

There is enough documentation that says that baiting is not right / not recommended as opposed to no documentation saying that is right or recommended. Most people may say that baiting has been used for science and re-establishment / conservation for some species, which can surely be debated as well. Again this argument in favor of baiting is not relevant. Autopsies are legally practiced by professionals for a specific purpose. Try doing one as a regular citizen and for pleasure. It may just well be a “bucket list item” but it certainly does not give one the right to do it. Again, we should not and do not need laws for everything. Most activities can and should be regulated by common sense. If photographing an owl is something that you really want to do but do not have the resources to do, are you going to rob a band to achieve your goal? Are you going to jeopardize another being to satisfy your wish? Totally ridiculous. Common sense will prevail (hopefully) and more over, you will certainly not advertise it.

The argument is getting old but not pointless although it may end up being tiresome. Mature, educated decision should prevail. Such debate will hopefully help some to grow and find maturity within.
Gilles


Edited on Feb 10, 2013 at 05:24 PM · View previous versions



Feb 10, 2013 at 04:59 PM
uz2work
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p.10 #14 · p.10 #14 · Birders vs Photographers


eyelaser wrote:
I have read every point-counterpoint and I have reached the conclusion that unfortunately we will just have to agree to disagree on the subject and no amount of thrust and parry will change anyone's mind.



Eric,

I'm absolutely certain that you are correct, but the audience for whom a thread like this has potential value is neither those who believe that baiting is inappropriate and unethical nor those who are steadfast in their belief that baiting is okay. Instead, it is those who may not have yet thought about all aspects related to baiting and who may not have yet come to a firm conclusion with regard to how they feel about the issue.

There are those who keep saying that they need to see/hear more to change their minds and believe that baiting is harmful Through the course of this thread, it should be clear that there are many, many reasons why baiting has the potential of doing harm. Yet, there are some who find it easy to pick out and minimize a single argument against baiting while ignoring the totality of all of the many arguments. When considering the totality of all of the arguments, the case against baiting becomes much more overwhelming.

Les



Feb 10, 2013 at 05:02 PM
Tlazer
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p.10 #15 · p.10 #15 · Birders vs Photographers


JeffAUSTIN wrote:
. Thats the real reason for the topic is that it pisses off some humans so lets have a fight man to man and see who wins.


Wow, I can't believe this response. You have got to be kidding me - what does this have to do with the discussion at hand. You don't agree with me so now lets fight



Feb 10, 2013 at 05:06 PM
gkor
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p.10 #16 · p.10 #16 · Birders vs Photographers


+1 Les



Feb 10, 2013 at 05:08 PM
uz2work
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p.10 #17 · p.10 #17 · Birders vs Photographers


gkor wrote:


Yes, if there is something I do not want to see here, I can certainly ignore it, which I do regularly. My decision is based on several factors: one of them being subject matter. Sites like this one are used for people to show their work. Most people with a history here (very regular posters) consider themselves photographers. I am sorry to say that for some (maybe the “silent majority”) ethics are at least equally important as technical skills.
Gilles


One of the things that I have a difficult time understanding is why many/most of those who claim that there is nothing ethically wrong with baiting raptors are unwilling, when they post pictures obtained with the aid of baiting, to be forthright and to disclose up front that those pictures were obtained with the aid of baiting. Instead, they seem to want to create the illusion that they were capturing a bird doing what it would have been doing had they not been there and had they not influenced its behavior. Some of the least pleasant portions of this discussion were the result of one individual posting pictures with out such a disclosure and then becoming upset and rather rude in responding to a couple of people who made posts indicating that baiting was involved. If people truly believe that baiting is appropriate and ethical, they should have no reason to want to try, by not disclosing that baiting was involved, to lead others to believe that it was not involved. And they should also realize that, for every "great shot" comment that gets posted, there will be a larger number of people who, even if they don't post, are going to look at those pictures and make negative judgments about them. And that would be the case regardless of whether the tireless (to some) thread ever existed or not.

Some of the responses in this thread lead me to believe that there are a lot more "closet baiters" around here than I would have previously guessed there to be.



Feb 10, 2013 at 05:25 PM
gkor
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p.10 #18 · p.10 #18 · Birders vs Photographers


Absolutely. One may just take it as an extension of the lack etiquette and maturity.
As far as "closet baiting" is concerned, unfortunately, there is no way to avoid the practice.
I do not agree with baiting, period. Baiting out of sight does not make it right but "Out of sight, out of mind". This said, when I find out that a friend is baiting, I most definetly question and challenge the rationallity of it (in a friendly manner of course). Wildlife photographer's better friends usually share the same views on many subject: ethics about baiting is certainly one of them. If not we agree to disagree and rarely share time together in the field; especially with certain species. But there again, most friends will show respect for the non baiter on a particular outing. This is usually very civil.
We all meet new people in the field. These people may eventually become friends but in most cases these friendships evolved around personallities and ethics over a period of time so if I meet someone who already bait, I would tend to not easily assiociate miself with him/her. I am not the type of person looking for instant / blind frienship. They require knowing and relating to each other no matter the quality of images produced.

Edited on Feb 10, 2013 at 06:09 PM · View previous versions



Feb 10, 2013 at 06:01 PM
Ted ellis
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p.10 #19 · p.10 #19 · Birders vs Photographers


eyelaser wrote:
I have read every point-counterpoint and I have reached the conclusion that unfortunately we will just have to agree to disagree on the subject and no amount of thrust and parry will change anyone's mind.
I do hope we all aim to behave ethically and those actions that cause harm are examined with a level head.
So with that, and getting a little bored with this I leave you with this image and an article that you might find interesting if not entertaining.
Eric

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/06/sniff-test-mens-cologne-used-to-attract-big-cats/1#.URfHo-iJUsg

And while not a jaguar it does adequately demonstrate how I'm starting to feel about this thread.


Great addition Eric!



Feb 10, 2013 at 06:06 PM
gkor
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p.10 #20 · p.10 #20 · Birders vs Photographers


I will also add this although is it more personal and not totally related to baiting.
I take pictures for my own pleasure as well as for business. I like to think that the people who like to see and buy my photographs do so not only for the visual merit the images but also because of the standards and ethics I apply to capture said images. I very well know that sensational sells but I refuse to alter my values for a sale or an opportunity for more sales. People often ask if I have photographs of flying owls as well as wolves (not in flight), cougars and such. I do know that these are always good sellers but I also know that the chances are very slim to capture such image in a truly wild setting. As a result I do not have any and I will not until I shoot something in the conditions I am looking for (wild and natural setting). I may never get any such images but do not feel but bad about it as at least I have standards and live by them. They may be the wrong standards for some but these are the rules for my practices.
Furthermore, Post count, looking for comments to build some kind of ego or reputation on a public forum is the least of my concerns: I just feel that people should be educated enough to make their own decisions. One can bait all he wants. Just do it in private. Do not look for approval and do not help portray the practice as being the best way to get that special image. If you do, make sure the onlooker knows what the circumstances were. Again the easy way is not always the best way and even less so the right way. No need to think that what one wants needs to become what one should have or deserves and at any cost. It is not because one drives for hours to get something that it is legitimate to get it in anyway and at any cost. A lifelong wish or quest will be more rewarding if arrived at ethically. Although something on one’s bucket list may never be achieved you will not be a lesser person for that. No one will judge you personally because you have not achieved a goal but you will be judged by some, maybe most, forthe way the goal was achieved. These are personal wishes, nothing else.…….




Feb 10, 2013 at 07:17 PM
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