Good morning, fellow bird lovers - I led a field trip to Addison Saturday, and everyone was disturbed to see two photographers way out in the field in back of the barn at the end of Gage Road. I bellowed at them that they were in a restricted area and they had to get out NOW - and, amazingly, they did. (In retrospect, that was pretty funny given that I have no actual authority. I think it was the outraged teacher voice.) Their “reasoning” was this: There’s a No Trespassing sign on the southwest corner of the barn, and another on the first power pole heading down the driveway, about 10 yards away. However, there’s no sign between those two signs - which was “a clear indication” that that space was a “pathway” allowing people to get closer to the Snow Geese.
When I pointed out the several newer signs making it clear that No Trespassing includes photographers and birders, one of the men got whiny: “Geez. I don’t see why you have to get angry with us!”
It was hours later before I wondered if we should have photographed the men in the field and then getting into their car, with the license plate evident. So this morning I called Fish and Wildlife. The answer: YES! We people who care about birds should get photos and plate numbers, if we can do it without feeling that we’re endangering ourselves in any way. Fax or e-mail the photos to Fish and Wildlife as soon as possible. In Addison, we can also phone 388-4875. There’s not always someone there but there’s usually someone close by.
With a possible Snow Owl irruption again this winter, it’s guaranteed that there will be unscrupulous and unethical behavior on the part of some photographers eager for the Perfect Pic. The Fish and Wildlife woman said that last year, there were people who literally chased individual owls, making them fly again and again. There were also people who got pet store mice and let them loose so they could get good pictures - ignoring the fact that pet store mice have a lot of antibiotics that might not be good for wild birds. If we birders unite to discourage the unethical few, and if it becomes known that some paid fines, it might help.
Thanks for reading my rant!
Maeve Kim, Jericho Center