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While I love seeing these photos, I fear that a contest like this will do more harm to the birds from amateur photographers trying to get close enough to snap pictures. Your contest should have a warning not to disturb the birds and to use telephoto lenses. The birds are hear for a reason, to rest and find food. To send swarms of people out after them without proper guidance is irresponsible.
Great contest…thanku ps do the snowy owls begin to turn “brown” as the season progresses; or do they stay White all year to their migration to the Artic?; I think Artic foxes go from brown to white; summer to winter.
ps Great photographs so far…it is thrilling to see photos of these Owls!
Thank you. Your concern is legitimate and we believe we have taken the proper precautions. We’ve posted on our website and on Facebook that people should not get too close, and we have a prominent sign at our Milford Point Coastal Center as well. We have not seen much evidence that people are disturbing the birds, and when we see it we try to correct the behavior in an appropriate way.
However we will re-emphasize it in future communications. Thank you. We hope you’re enjoying the Snowy Owls!
Thank you Anne! Snowy Owls do not turn brown, by the way.
Unfortunately, the attention that the snowy owls have been generating is causing people to approach too closely with small cameras and DSLR cameras with short to medium telephoto lenses at Milford Point. On Sunday, an owl was scared off of the beach on the marsh side of the area by someone approaching too closely and when the owl relocated to a sand bar on the L.I. Sound side of the area, he/she was again approached too closely and kept moving further out on the sand bar. The photographer did not have a super telephoto lens (i.e., a 500mm or longer lens plus a teleconverter to increase the focal length even more) and, not being happy with a perfectly nice environmental photo of the owl on the sand bar, continued to move closer-scaring it off further each time. Now an owl that did not fear people just a few weeks ago has been taught to flee people.
We are truly sorry to hear that. We’ve been trying to spread the word about staying away from the owls, on our website, on Facebook, in the newspapers. Other birders who are following the proper Snowy Owl etiquette should perhaps exert some peer pressure and politely tell the misbehaver how to act.
thanks Tom and nice to know the Bald Eagles are around too in our State. I once read an article about whether the Owls of Conn. were intruded on by the Wild Parrots building nests in the owls’ pine trees; the study indicated the Parrots did not upset the Owls nests or cause any damage.
Owls are steadfast and sturdy Birds; they seem to rank high in Nature! AR
ps I just got my membership card to Ct.Audobon; hope to see the woods soon
I concur that “amateurs”, both birders and photographers, drive birds off by trying to get too close to birds for pics with a cell phone, cameras with short telephoto lenses. I have had the good fortune to have had both a bit of photographic training as well as ethics training by several well known photographers, which I greatly appreciate. All of my images posted here were photographed with a 600mm lens + a 1.4X tele extender, on a 1.5 cropped sensor DSLR, allowing me to remain a reasonable distance from the snowy owls and not stress them. When I checked the focusing mark on my lens after taking a few of these images, the mark was on 150 feet.
I believe this contest should encourage participation from as many people as possible. The reason being participation will help with conservation and respect through education. The contest should not be based on the photographer with the biggest lens wins Philosophy.Not everyone will have a professional level lens and this should not discourage participation. Enjoy the experience and process of being outside and enjoying your surroundings, if you get a photo during that experience smile and share it.
Bill … we agree!
We just experienced the joy of photographing from
afar a Snowy Owl at Uncas Point in Guilford
late afternoon, Sunday, March 23, 2014. As
we looked, it returned our curious interest. It sat on
the rocks by the water, enjoying the chilly breeze,
but kept turning its head to check on the half
dozen of us with binoculars and cameras. We
must have been a spectacle, too! (Talk about
rare species.) Oh, and an Oyster Catcher flew by
ODE TO AN OWL
The speckled, bespectacled white Snowy Owl
had a look of distinction, at that.
Our binoculars found,
but by boundary fence bound
when we looked,
he looked back and just sat.
The word spread all around of a species so rare,
we, like he, braved the wind from the West.
Oyster catchers winged by but we only glanced nigh,
for our white Snowy Owl was the best.
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