[CT Birds] Posting Snowy Owl Locations

Patricia Bailey bails at att.net
Sun Jan 4 09:58:55 EST 2015

Personally, I don't think we should post sightings of Snowy Owls.  Most people have no idea of how close is too close and it's easy to accidentally not see an owl until too close.   I recently climbed a windy hill hoping to see something on the "quiet" side of the field.  Stopped, saw nothing, but raised my binoculars and there was a Bald Eagle on the ground feeding on a raccoon.  As I turned to leave I accidentally flushed him.  In today's culture an individual's right trumps the greater good.  So I think owls are always exciting, but best not to post.  Check in with your birding friends instead.
Sherman, CT

Message: 2
Date: Sat, 3 Jan 2015 09:23:36 -0800
From: Roy Harvey <rmharvey at snet.net>
To: CTBirds <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
Subject: [CT Birds] Snowy Owls - Please Read
	<1420305816.78895.YahooMailNeo at web181106.mail.ne1.yahoo.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

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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