[CT Birds] Snowy Owls - Please Read

Roy Harvey rmharvey at snet.net
Sat Jan 3 12:23:36 EST 2015

We need to stop and think about our behavior, everyone.

Yesterday there was a report from Milford Point: "Snowy Owl scoped from platform out on sandbar - flushed by paparazzi and flew east and settled in brush."  A few minutes ago I received a private email that began: "I heard there was a snowy owl situation yesterday at Milford Point where the bird was being chased up and down the sandbar by a number of people, mostly amateur photographers.  Almost all of these folks are reading about it on the CTBirds list."

There is no justification for harassing these birds.  Getting a picture isn't that important.  Neither is getting a perfect look.  There is no way to tell now strong, or how weak, these visitors are, or how much our presence stresses them.  Obviously if the bird flies we were too close, but it also means we were already too close before it flew.  A bird that doesn't fly might simply be too weak or tired.  Use your binoculars, your scopes and long lenses if you have them, but leave the birds some room.  Please?

It has been suggested that reports of Snowy Owls on the list be curtailed.  I sincerely hope it never gets to that point.  Talk to each other about it.  If you see someone behaving like a jerk toward the bird try to help them to understand the problem they are making for the bird.  I hope I don't have to tell anyone to be polite about it.

One more point.  There is no reason to broadly condemn birders or bird photographers because a few don't know how to go about it.

Good birding!

Roy Harvey
Beacon Falls, CT

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