eBirds NYC Comment Concerning Ethics of Long-eared Owl Photography

eBirds NYC (28Dec03 Central Park Long-eared Owls)

+ Central Park Long-eared Owls (PJeffrey)

DATE: Sunday, 28 December 2003
LOCATION: Central Park
COMMENTS BY: Phil Jeffrey 

I write this post out of frustration at the near-circus scene at the
regular Central Park Long-eared Owl location on weekend afternoons for
the past two weeks. I also believe that a failure to criticize this
behavior is tantamount to accepting it.

Many Rare Bird Alerts specifically do not identify owl roosts, because
they are notoriously vulnerable to pressure from crowding and close
approach. Ben has the same policy here on eBirds. Stressing wintering
owls translates directly into reduced chances of survival. Not all our
LEOs will inevitably make it to spring.

Consequently, the behavior of some in Central Park is certainly not in
the best interests of the owls. I've seen people directly under the
tree for extended periods of time. Not only is this a bad idea in
itself, but contributes to a perception by the general public that
they can approach closely without consequence to the owls. Almost
inevitably, the people causing the biggest problems are some bird
photographers, including some of those that post on this list. It is a
failure to show restraint and act in the best interests of the bird.
There are many good LEO pictures in this world - we can live without a
few more at the expense of these owls.

Phil Jeffrey (expressing his own opinions)
pjeffrey AT hotmail.com