[CT Birds] Plovers and photographers

Mark Szantyr birddog55 at charter.net
Fri Jul 25 01:16:58 EDT 2008

While I appreciate and share Miley's concern about the piping plovers and 
respect his hard work and that of all the plover volunteers, TNC,  and 
Audubon staff, I wish he hadn't used such a broad brush to paint 
photographers as the main culprits in the disturbance of plover adults and 
chicks.  Certainly if any photographer was bothering the birds they should 
have been admonished on the spot for their behavior.  Sadly, there are so 
many other possible sources of disturbance including non-photographing 
bird-watchers, nature enthusiasts, beach goers, boaters, fisherman, cats, 
dogs, dog-walkers, school programs, wedding parties, air traffic, natural 
predators, etc, that to single out bird photographers as a group responsible 
for disturbance is just not fair.  It is too easy and perhaps safe to go 
after this small but normally responsible group without tackling the much 
more sensitive (politically speaking) and unmanageable sources of 
disturbance that are all too prevalent.  I wish to echo Miley's concerns 
about the plovers and I urge all readers to understand the delicate balance 
the piping plovers are in between success and failure.  I understand the 
daily frustration he must encounter dealing with such a sensitive species in 
such a popular location but those serious photographers I know, 
photographers and not nature-lovers or beach-goers with cameras,   would not 
jeopardize any species' success to get a photo.  I do not mean to be 
difficult,  Miley, I am on your side.  I just don't want to be immediately 
blamed for disturbing a bird when I pull my camera and telephoto lens out of 
the car.  I would also ask that we photographers use best judgement when 
photographing any natural wonder.  Everything that we (all of us, not just 
photographers)  do in the natural word is potentially intrusive...we should 
all work hard to leave as small a foot print as possible.

Thanks for entertaining my rant.

Mark S. Szantyr
80 Bicknell Road #9
Ashford, Connecticut 06278
Birddog55 at charter.net
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Milan Bull" <mbull at ctaudubon.org>
To: <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2008 2:45 PM
Subject: [CT Birds] Plovers and photographers

> Although the nesting season is about over for piping plovers, several 
> observers noticed photographers setting up equipment adjacent to the 
> exclosures this past year with camera lenses even poking through the 
> fencing in an effort to get the best shot possible.  This resulted in 
> stressing the adults and causing them to temporarily abandon incubation. 
> With all the natural stresses of beach and dog walkers, sunbathers and 
> beer parties, etc. (some people even used the exclosure netting as beer 
> can holders!), the birds need as much time at the nest as possible and it 
> is critical to avoid pushing them off the nest, no matter how 
> well-intentioned the photographer may be.
> The Piping Plover Recovery Team recommends a minimum of a 50 meter buffer 
> be kept around the exclosures at all times while the nests are active. 
> Please pass this along to friends and photographers.  Thanks!
> Milan G. Bull
> Senior Director of Science and Conservation
> Connecticut Audubon Society
> 2325 Burr St.
> Fairfield, CT 06824
> (203)259-6305
> mbull at ctaudubon.org
> _______________________________________________
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