A bird photography ethics question.

Started 10 months ago | Discussions thread
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Karaya
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A bird photography ethics question.
10 months ago

I would like to ask this question of the regulars on the Sunday Bird, but I thought it better not to clog that thread up with a side issue.

While birding in the Sax-Zim bog this month I spotted a Northern Hawk Owl from our car. I took my E-5 and 300mm lens and tripod, marched thru the waist deep snow and gradually approached the owl and got as close as he seemed comfortable with. I got the best shots I could, wished the owl well and went back to the car. Some time latter we were driving down the same road and witnessed two young men baiting this same owl. I looked thru binoculars and saw that they were offering it white mice in order to get it to pose upon an ideally situated post.

Frankly, I was appalled. I asked myself if I was merely envious that these fellows were likely getting better photos then I had. That may have been a factor, but it seemed to me that this situation could really mess up the raptor being baited if it starts to look to people as a source of food. My wife pointed out that we put out seed and suet for birds in our yard all the time - so what's the difference? I think raptors are entirely different - they have to be independent hunters to survive.

I am curious as to the opinion of others on this forum. Where does one draw the line in attempting to get good photos of raptors? On one end of the spectrum there are those who believe in watching the birds only from a distance with spotting scopes and doing everything possible not to disturb the natural behavior of the birds - at the other end we have the two 'master baiters' I saw who practically had the bird eating out of their hands. Where would YOU draw the line?

 Karaya's gear list:Karaya's gear list
Olympus Zuiko Digital 300mm 1:2.8 Olympus E-5 Canon EOS 5D Mark III Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50mm 1:2.0 Macro Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM +2 more
Olympus E-5
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