Photography and disturbing birds (long)

To: Birding-aus <>
Subject: Photography and disturbing birds (long)
From: "John Leonard" <>
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2008 08:39:34 +1100
In my experience of bird photography I have learnt that you only ever
get a good shot (unless you're very, very lucky) when the bird doesn't
care whether you take a shot of it or not (or hasn't seen you). This
would preclude birds that are stressed by the presence of the

But we shouldn't get ultra-puritan about disturbing birds either. We
shouldn't do things that are going to disturb birds unnecessarily,
especially around nests, but, at the same time, the life of small
birds is constant disturbance, and if humans aren't around they are
disturbed by other birds and animals, predators of all kinds. They
have to be constantly on the alert. (I walk past a Swallow's nest in
the car-park of the office building I work in every day, and so do
many other people; the Swallows were going fine until two days ago,
when a party of Currawongs went through the car-park systematically
searching out nests (mainly Starlings and Mynahs). The Swallow's nest
is now deserted)

Yes it's sad if a rare bird such as a Painted Snipe is driven away by
bird-watchers or photographers, but the vastly greater tragedy is that
our society has destroyed so much wetland in southern Australia that
the Painted Snipe has declined in numbers, so that it is rare.

John Leonard

2008/10/29 David Stowe <>:
> Yes i find chopping the tree down the most helpful way to photograph any
> bird. In fact i usually start a bushfire too so that it clears the scrub and
> nicely flushes the birds.
> But seriously, going back to the original concern;
> I defy any birdwatcher to honestly say that they have NEVER caused any bird
> to fly off from a perch/roost.
> Every time we stumble into the bush trying for any sort of view of a bird we
> are disturbing it and most often causing it to fly away from us.
> And funnily enough, even after all these times, i have never seen one drop
> dead of exhaustion :)
> Cheers
> Dave
> On 28/10/2008, at 7:25 PM, Alan Gillanders wrote:
>> Syd,
>> What about a well known photographer cutting off a tree within a national
>> park to get an at nest shot? As the gentleman concerned denies doing so and
>> I have not enough proof to withstand a libel suit I'll not name him.
>> When shown the nest of a Spotted Catbird he said that it was no good to
>> him as the hides he had with him would not let him get high enough. A week
>> later the tree had been shortened by a metre and a half, tied with wire to
>> its stump and had branched trimmed.
>> Regards,
>> Alan
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John Leonard

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