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Archive 2014 · Baiting For Owls/Raptors

  
 
MercuryPhotog
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Baiting For Owls/Raptors


We've had a huge influx of snowy owls here in MN this season. Along with that has come throngs of photographers approaching the ghostly visitors form the arctic to get images.

A large number of photogs are using mice to lure the birds in and this has led to controversy among birders-even leading to fights! It has also sprung some legislators to action and it appears a new anti-baiting laws could be passed this session.

I'm in the midst of writing a pro and con baiting article for a major publication which will feature an unapologetic owl baiter's opinions and an equally ardent anti-baiter's thoughts.

So, what do you all think?

Thanks!

This poll will help frame my article.



Feb 26, 2014 at 10:46 PM
cohenfive
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Baiting For Owls/Raptors


I would never do it, and the only conditions where I would condone the practice would be where a naturalist is involved to ensure that the birds are safe and not harmed in any way from baiting. You have to be very careful not to upset the balance of nature, and that should be a higher priority than getting the good shot imo.


Feb 26, 2014 at 10:54 PM
Larry Williams
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Baiting For Owls/Raptors


Maybe we should stop feeding hummingbirds, Cardinals, and other "feeder birds" in our backyards. Maybe we should stop staging photo shoots with branches, flowers, water falls, and water baths as well. I don't bait, but I do feed our birds. Maybe we should pass a law to stop using decoys to kill ducks and geese and burn all duck calls. Where are all the protestors against the above? How many birds die during the winter from starvation? Maybe we should stop the slaughter of "wild game" farms. Remove pen raised pheasants and quail that are tossed out into a fenced area where "hunters" can go and kill them, or should I say "harvest" them. How can this topic be addressed without facing all other like issues?

This subject has been discussed at length in prior years within FM with everyone having an opinion. I would hope that all would be looked into and studied prior to any prohibition like law.

These are just my thoughts and feelings, which I have a right to express.



Feb 27, 2014 at 12:12 AM
Keiththom
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Baiting For Owls/Raptors


I would hope that politicians would have more pressing issues than someone that throws a mouse to an owl. What's next, outlawing large drinks? Oh wait, we've already tried that. The point is, we can't outlaw every conceivable little thing in this - the "land of the free," and it still remain the land of the free.

I am employed in law enforcement, but sometimes I have to step back and think to myself - that's a dumb law.



Feb 27, 2014 at 02:31 AM
Lil Judd
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Baiting For Owls/Raptors


Interesting question...... Not really.

I remember when a juvenile Bald Eagle showed up at a park in the Los Angeles area a few years back. We don't see BEs in Los Angeles normally. Well in spending time in the park I found out from other photographers that one photographer had paid a man fishing if he could buy a fish of him. The man sold the fish & the eagle was baited.

Later on a park ranger came by & I don't remember how the thing came up, but the ranger was told. He became furious. It's illegal to feed Federally protected birds like Bald Eagles.

There are many Federally protected birds. I would imagine that there are owls, which are migratory birds & I'm sure, many Federally protected as well. Hence, there are most probably owls which it's just as illegal to feed as a Bald Eagle.

The fines are steep, both on Federal & State level. And jail time can in some places be served. I would imagine that if photographers were better aware of this they might think twice about feeding any wild bird.

I really don't think we can compare feeding an owl or a Bald Eagle to feeding Hummingbirds or other small song birds in our back yards. It's vastly different to me. Hummingbirds, Cardinals etc are not Federally protected birds. Also, we're not overfeeding the little songbirds in our backyards. They eat what the need & fly on. From what I've heard about how some people bait owls it's a danger to the birds health.

I strongly oppose baiting of owls or any raptor of any kind. I wish we had enough rangers to protect the birds from people being so uncaring as to do the baiting. If I ever happen to see anyone doing anything like it, you better believe I'll with joy call the Police on them. They make the birds ill.

JMO - and no, I'm not humble about it at all.




Feb 27, 2014 at 02:47 AM
Keiththom
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Baiting For Owls/Raptors


Lil Judd wrote:
Interesting question...... Not really.

I remember when a juvenile Bald Eagle showed up at a park in the Los Angeles area a few years back. We don't see BEs in Los Angeles normally. Well in spending time in the park I found out from other photographers that one photographer had paid a man fishing if he could buy a fish of him. The man sold the fish & the eagle was baited.

Later on a park ranger came by & I don't remember how the thing came up, but the ranger was told. He became furious. It's illegal to feed
...Show more

I don't want to get into the should we or shouldn't we bait argument. My comments are more from a raptor biologist viewpoint:

Actually hummers and cardinals are federally protected under the Migratory Bird treaty act. As are all songbirds. And I appreciate your concerns about over-feeding, I really do - but you cannot harm a raptor by over-feeding them. Raptors are designed for feast and famine. They have large crops to store food and I've seen many of them that ate to the point where they look very odd and certainly couldn't "tie their shoes up."

You could make the argument that feeding raptors habituates them to humans which can be harmful. But even that argument is not without holes. Depending upon the species, even raptors that have been pulled as downy chicks and imprinted to humans, quickly turn wild when released.



Edited on Feb 27, 2014 at 03:10 AM · View previous versions



Feb 27, 2014 at 03:01 AM
Lil Judd
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Baiting For Owls/Raptors


Keiththom wrote:
Well.....actually hummers and cardinals are federally protected under the Migratory Bird treaty act. As are all songbirds.



True,

but what about the ones that are in place all year I have hummers 12 months out of the year. Never see any Cardinals.

Anyhow, I'm glad to see that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act isn't something my mind had made up. On this basis.... the owls are migratory birds. Hence this is all mute. It's illegal to feed them - end of discussion.

Thanks for making that clear.

Lil



Feb 27, 2014 at 03:06 AM
Keiththom
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Baiting For Owls/Raptors


Basically ALL birds are protected by law. The few that are not are introduced invasive species such as pigeons and starlings, etc. Even some introduced species are protected such as pheasant.

Even birds that do not migrate are protected under the Migratory bird treaty act. (as odd as it might sound)

Eagles are one species that are protected under even another law that songbirds are not and that is the Bald and Golden Eagle protection act. Other raptors, are only protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

While I have studied birds of prey my whole life, I am not really an expert on federal laws. However, I do not believe that there are regulations under the Migratory bird treaty act that forbids feeding them - in fact I'm sure there are not.

You CAN however be in a National or state park, etc, that has regulations concerning that particular park that forbids feeding wildlife. And this might be what you experienced.



Feb 27, 2014 at 03:18 AM
big country
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Baiting For Owls/Raptors


Baiting birds of prey with animal items is unethical, and at the end of the day people that do it will try to justify it.

It is illegal to bait birds w/ prey items in Wisconsin for photography. I have seen some recent photos of people posting photos of owls from that state, wonder if they baited? I bet if they knew it was illegal, they would not own up to it.

In addition to Wisconsin, it will be soon be illegal in Minnesota as well.

Some photographers seem not to really care how they get their shot or what the impact of getting their shot is. They just want that photo so they can come and post it online (and laughably be supported here and get featured threads), sell ebooks, tours, workshops, etc.

Comparing bird feeders with seeds to baiting with prey items is comparing apples to oranges.

Also going back to the point that photographers will do anything to get the shot, here is another example, this particular case does not necessarily involve baiting, but is rather interesting as I am sure it will affect this person's income:

http://www.wesh.com/news/central-florida/osceola-county/wildlife-photographer-pleads-guilty-to-violating-endangered-species-act/24700816#ixzz2uWiUuZIv



Feb 27, 2014 at 07:58 AM
Karl Witt
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Baiting For Owls/Raptors


Quite honestly this question belongs elsewhere on FM, should be placed in this forum:
FM Forums
Forum & Miscellaneous discussions

You could place a photo here on the N&W with a link to your 'research' topic.
No need to stir the pot on the 'photo' forum IMHO.
Karl



Feb 27, 2014 at 08:39 AM
KCollett
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Baiting For Owls/Raptors


Lots of threads on this topic. If quotes are needed, you'll find lots if you look.


Feb 27, 2014 at 08:55 AM
Jim8EL
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Baiting For Owls/Raptors


So here's my 2 cents on this controversial subject.

I do not condone baiting on ethical terms only. Wildlife photography is hard. It requires thought and commitment. Many here on this board brave the dark and cold to get to a spot, setup and wait for the right moment to capture stunning photos of wildlife. Sometimes this effort proves unproductive and all that effort is for nothing. They disturb little in environment and make virtually no impact on the wildlife they are observing. Baiting though seems like cheating to me and de-values the efforts of those that do it "right".

On the other hand, I also do not buy into the hysteria that surrounds the subject of human and wildlife interaction. There is little proof that baiting, unless it is extreme, harms birds of prey. Is roadkill baiting? Perhaps we should ban cars. With the expansion of humans into the habitats of many animals, wildlife has adapted to coexist. Where our incursion has had a drastically negative impact, I am glad to say that we have, for the most part, matured enough as a culture to put regulations in place to rectify those transgressions.

As some would have it we should just go away. We are all part of the environment. It is inevitable that we will impact the world around us. Sometimes for good and sometimes not.

Jim



Feb 27, 2014 at 09:50 AM
VinnieJ
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Baiting For Owls/Raptors


I don't bait, don't want to bait and never will bait although I am not strongly against it. As long as we are just talking about birds I would fall under the category of "Yes But Only In specific Situations Where It's Safe For The Birds."

What I definitely DO NOT want is law enforcement involved. I don't even want to imagine being stopped by police trying to shoot a snowy owl and being under suspicion of baiting just because I'm carrying a camera. I get harassed enough just because I like to take photos.

Edited on Feb 27, 2014 at 03:27 PM · View previous versions



Feb 27, 2014 at 10:19 AM
big country
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Baiting For Owls/Raptors


Illegal in Minnesota next year:

http://lauraerickson.blogspot.com/2014/02/baiting-owls.html




Feb 27, 2014 at 11:05 AM
RikWriter
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Baiting For Owls/Raptors


I have never baited any animal and don't have plans to start now, but I don't particularly care if others want to do it, and I have seen no evidence it harms the birds involved. I think some people are just looking for something to be outraged about.


Feb 27, 2014 at 11:16 AM
AvianScott
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Baiting For Owls/Raptors




big country wrote:
It is illegal to bait birds w/ prey items in Wisconsin for photography.


It is not illegal in Wisconsin.



Feb 27, 2014 at 12:57 PM
big country
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Baiting For Owls/Raptors


maybe i am reading this wrong:

http://dnr.wi.gov/files/pdf/pubs/wm/wm0456.pdf

"Feeding wild animals for non-hunting purposes is prohibited."

http://court-records-management.com/record/2347293/2013FO000066



Feb 27, 2014 at 01:13 PM
Cincy Bruce
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Baiting For Owls/Raptors


I was following a similar discussion in a nature group on FB. I decided to leave after coming to this conclusion:

People that start these types of discussions most likely have 1,000's of images taken of raptors that have been baited, by them or someone else. They are looking for acceptance to share their photos.

I'm not interested!

Bruce



Feb 27, 2014 at 02:36 PM
thehotel
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Baiting For Owls/Raptors


IMHO everyone needs to make up their own mind. My opinion is just that my opinion.

I don't bait and don't have any interest in baiting but if someone wants to and they are not harming the animals they should go for it.

I enjoy being out in the woods and especially enjoy the challenge of the hunt factor, this is more important to me than getting a keeper photo. Finding wildlife and then patterning them and then getting in a position to get a shot or two IMHO is what is the most fun.



Feb 27, 2014 at 02:44 PM
AvianScott
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Baiting For Owls/Raptors


big country wrote:
maybe i am reading this wrong:

http://dnr.wi.gov/files/pdf/pubs/wm/wm0456.pdf

"Feeding wild animals for non-hunting purposes is prohibited."

http://court-records-management.com/record/2347293/2013FO000066


I've talked to two wardens this year and one last year during the Huxman incident, and all 3 stated that feeding mice to owls is not illegal in Wisconsin. One of them stated that at best it's a gray area as there is an exemption for feeding birds.

Huxman was cited because he was teasing and poking the owl with sticks and making other physical contact with it (per Wisconsin birding list), not because he was baiting. He was baiting the owl for 3 days (with the DNR watching two of those days) before the stick poking incident happened.


Edited on Mar 02, 2014 at 11:32 PM · View previous versions



Feb 27, 2014 at 03:26 PM
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