An Evening With Audubon

It was my pleasure to present to the St Johns County Audubon Society last night. My seminar, entitled “Ethical Bird Photography” was well-attended and the questions were thoughtful. This is a well-informed audience!

Wildlife photography is a wonderful hobby for some, but it has the potential to harm fragile species if we do not monitor the behavior of the over-zealous few. There are stories of inconsiderate or downright illegal activities from eco-tour operators as well as ignorant photographers seeking self-affirmation on Instagram or Facebook.

As a photography instructor, I pledge to teach my students and coach my colleagues in the following:

Ethical Bird Photography Guidelines

  • Avoid causing unnecessary disturbance. Keep your distance, use blinds or natural cover, and stick to natural lighting. (I never use flash)
  • Nesting birds are vulnerable, and need special consideration. 
  • Never lure hawks or owls with live bait.
  • Don’t use sound playback.
  • Show respect for property and consideration for other people.
  • Promote the welfare of birds and their environment. Learn their behavior and signs of stress.
  • Ensure that any backyard feeders are safe and kept clean
  • Group birding requires special care. Encourage others you travel with to follow these codes of ethics to promote better understanding.
  • Never share a nest location publicly on social media.
  • If you observe an overzealous shooter, point out the dangers this behavior poses to the wildlife we all strive to protect. 
  • If the violator persists, report the location and description to the FWC.
Great Horned Owl near sundown, spotted by Vicki. Canon 6d & 150-600mm lens.
Follow me on social media:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *