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millipede

owl pictures?

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I'm sorry I don't get on here as often as I'd like. I get distracted with other things...  I still wish there were more sections/options to this board... this topic for instance doesn't have an adequate forum to be posted in. 😞 

Anyway... I run some facebook groups... the birding in Massachusetts group I'm running has blown up.  Back in November(ish) I had posted hoping to get to 100 users. The group had been there a while and I was just a member but then I noticed, there was no administrator... A click or two and, I took over. I changed the title, the images, gave it a description, etc... there's almost 2700 members now. 
Now if I can just do that with my Birding Arkansas group... 

anyway... when I started discussing rules and such for the group, someone made the suggestion(among other things) to say NO owl pictures... I discussed it with them, and their reasoning. They said a lot of groups have that rule...   It made some sense. Owls are a sensitive species...  though, I've never seen any act so sensitive as to abandon a nest because someone's taking a picture, as has been implied. But there are bad photographers out there that I know will do anything for a good shot... Then again, any photographers with a decent camera don't need to get THAT close in the first place.

So, I sort of made that a rule...  but then people started posting owl pictures and I kind of let it slide. I LOVE seeing owls...  and part of me wants to say... if it doesn't look like the birds are being disturbed, why not allow them. But, it's not like I can guarantee that by the looks of a photo right?  I wish I could force all the photographers to go through a birding ethics course before they're allowed to post pictures of certain species.
Someone reported an owl picture the other day and then messaged me asking if I was allowing them. And I'm just stuck on the fence... I have trouble making decisions... and I need input from others.
One of my thoughts was... perhaps I could make it a rule IF IF IF I allow owl pictures, people HAVE to describe the camera and lens they used, what kind of distance they were at, etc... 

What do you all think???  Can I allow people to post owl pictures and keep the owls safe and unbothered? Or is it just better to not allow those pictures AT ALL to avoid the possibility of encouraging others to go grab those shots at any expense???

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Posted (edited)

So you have given us up for facebook...:classic_angry::classic_angry::classic_tongue:

Edited by Kevin
  • Haha 1

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facebook is just a site I have open on my computer almost all the time. You guys wouldn't want me here EVERY day anyway. ha. 

So no thoughts on owl pictures??? or, not enough people see this section of the forum?

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I find it difficult to see why such a rule would be limited to owls.  Almost all birds are aware of our presence, whether we are photographing them or not.  I can think of many instances where I didn't know a bird was there until it flushed from a probable nest and sounded its alarm call.  Compounding the problem by stalking it to try to get a picture is, of course, something different, but that's not at all limited to owls.

To me it seems like a strongly worded general ethics statement should suffice.  Perhaps using owls as an example would go at least some way toward satisfying that particular person's pet peeve.

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The idea, I've been told, is that owls, some other raptors, cranes, and a few others are "sensitive" and if bothered too much, are "known" to abandon their nests. Some groups wont let you share any photos or locations of such birds to protect them.
I'm not sure how true any of that is which is part of why I'm trying to get other opinions.
I don't want to go too far to one extreme, or the other. I don't want to allow EVERYTHING but at the same time, some groups make such drastic rules just to prevent the encouragement of those unethical photographers that will do anything for that perfect shot.
This is similar to why the migratory bird treaty is as strict as it is. It's "technically" illegal for you to pick up a bird feather and bring it home... Because killing birds to get feathers is illegal but if it wasn't worded so strictly, people could easily say they found it and be lying. People lie.  😞 
humans...

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I don't know enough about owls to answer your question, but there's also the issue of people using camera flash in the owls' sensitive eyes.

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I’m not sure I understand the logic of disallowing already-taken photographs of owls, as most of the time they are probably taken under appropriate conditions. Now, on the other hand, disclosing specific locations is far more problematic and probably shouldn’t be done in a forum with that many members. 

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