Saturday, January 03, 2009

It's sad to see a photographer

...who disturbs resting birds and disrespects private property. Today a photographer, in her close approach on foot through the ditch, caused a flock of ptarmigan that were resting in our yard to run across our lawn. So not cool. I suspect part of the reason that ptarmigan have been hanging around our yard for so long is that they are left relatively undisturbed. We peek at them from our windows so we won't startle them. There are no dogs running loose in our neighbourhood. Local traffic sometimes slows down to look when the ptarmigan are feeding, but that's it, as most of us are used to seeing ptarmigan in town. This case is hopefully the only exception. The photographer was on our property at one point, but perhaps she thought she was still in the ditch. Who knows. We considered walking over to ask her to back off and to chat about ethical birding, but that would risk disturbing the birds even more.

*
January 4

No ptarmigan in the yard this morning. No ptarmigan napping under the willow in the sun. This is how it goes.


Time to move on.

14 comments:

Adunakhyr said...

Yes, it could disturb. You are good person.

Happy New Year!

Brenda Schmidt said...

Views on what constitutes ethical birding and ethical bird photography do vary, and clearly that photographer's views differ greatly from mine.

Happy New Year.

pohanginapete said...

I ran a couple of workshops on environmental photography late last year, and made sure the participants thought hard about what they were doing when photographing not just birds, but other animals — including people. Fortunately, I was probably preaching to the converted (it's unlikely they'd have been at the workshops if they'd thought otherwise), but I'm sure many people are so caught up by the prospect of a photo they think will be good that they never consider the subjects.

Ethics is a tricky area, Brenda, but I'm firmly with you on this.

Brenda Schmidt said...

I'm sure you're right, Pete. And I'm sure that my grumpy post on what's mainly a literary blog is merely me grumbling to the converted. What good will it do? Your environmental photography workshops, for one, are a positive way of approaching these matters. An example of right action. No doubt the participants in your workshops have spread the word to those who have thought less about these things.

Brenda Schmidt said...

Note: I just removed the pic, so I edited the text of the post somewhat for sense.

Lemon Hound said...

Believe it or not I had some of my finest bird watching moments in NYC. There is a huge birding community in Central Park where I went once a week for several years. We had the most wonderful owl sightings and for the most part the general public carried on without noticing the spectacular sites...

Brenda Schmidt said...

Cool! I've never been to NYC and don't know anything about the birding scene there, but I do know that there is some fabulous birding to be had in the green space of urban centres in Canada. It's great when species, and that includes us, can coexist peacefully without threatening each other's personal space.

Lemon Hound said...

Well, if you go, go to the boat house and ask for the birders log. That will hook you up.

Nothing stops them.

Nick S said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick S said...

I hope they come back. Brenda & Harv, you are great people who have enthralled us all, with your stories of these amazing birds.
I never even knew you had a blog ! :-)
Best wishes to you both for the new year.

Val said...

I love the print photo of the departed ptarmigan Brenda. Sorry you had such a negative outcome by one person's poor judgement. I'm enjoying your blog and other websites. Thanks. Val T

Brenda Schmidt said...

Thanks, Lemon Hound. That would be so cool.

Thanks, Nick and Val. I've been giving much thought to my possible role in this. To my own judgment. If this photographer knew where to find the birds because of what I've posted here and elsewhere then what does that say about me? It's like having guests over and then inviting strangers into their bedroom. Who would do that? In effect, that's very well what I may have done to these birds by posting such information. Not cool. This is a cold climate. There's a limited food supply. These birds expend energy just trying to get by, not to mention each time they flee. And running off or taking flight exposes them to other dangers. If what I've posted has contributed to this or diminished their quality of life in any way, then shame on me. So I've been thinking long and hard about what I post and why. Is there good reason for it? Is it to share? Is it for attention? Is it an act of selfishness? I don't know. But I'm still thinking.

Happy New Year and thanks for visiting. :)

allanmcdougall said...

Especially with how cold it is in Saskatchewan right now. Brrrrrr. I like the conversation this post generated. Thanks!

Brenda Schmidt said...

Thanks, Allan. Me, too. As pointed out on another forum, and by Pete above, it's important to think about and keep rethinking our own behavior and its impact. And so I begin the new year by digging out a mirror and taking a good long look. Always looking. Always learning. That's a good thing.