- Jan 13 2:36 pm
My problem with it lies more in altering the subjects behavior, than in actually causing direct injury. Birds which are not eating, are birds which are in trouble. Human interference in daily routines is becoming a major conservation issue for some species, right up there with habitat loss. The author of the posted link obviously fails to understand this.
I strongly disagree with the idea that photos used to promote awareness of birds justifies endangering the subject to begin with. There are many ways to raise awareness of nature, without destroying it.
I also strongly disagree that fill flashes do not cause any changes in any subjects behavior, as I have personally witnessed the opposite. I'm not saying that it is never justified, or that it always causes problems. I'm saying that I personally don't think it's a good idea, and wish that others would seriously consider the potential effects (especially the cumulative ones) before doing it.
Having recently watched photographers deliberately flushing roosting owls to get them to fly to more convenient areas for photography, or making noises or throwing things at sleeping birds so that they can get face shots, as well as watching photographers using flashes without any care at all for the subjects well being, I no longer post any of my sightings of some species sought after by photographers. In particular, I no longer publicly post any sightings of Owls, which are likely to be chased and harassed by unethical photographers. Having said that, I do know many photographers that I trust implicitly, and if I know that they are seeking a certain species, I'm more than happy to help them locate it.
I would also mention that there are growing numbers of birders who have ceased posting their sightings of rare, endangered, or nesting species to public forums due to an increase in the number of unethical photographers seeking such birds. I think this has more to do with affordable camera equipment and a public which refuses to understand the needs of other creatures, than anything else.