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How to Flush a Snowy Owl

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Published on Feb 7, 2012

Photographers ignore signs, trample habitat, and chase Snowy Owls in a protected wildlife area on Boundary Bay, British Columbia, Canada. Feb 3, 2012.
Hundreds of people flock here to watch the Snowy Owls during winter irruptions. Over 20 owls could be seen at one time in a relatively small area this year. Many were roosting within a few meters of the hiking trail and were enjoyed by onlookers without causing any apparent stress. An amazing spectacle!

Most people stay on the dike and keep a reasonable distance as posted signs suggest, but some photographers choose to leave the trail and repeatedly approach owls to the point they become alert and fly off. Not only does this change individual owl's behavior and possibly threaten their livelihood, but also enrages respectable birders and photographers who are viewing them from the trail. There are even reports of someone throwing objects at owls to make them fly for the best photo!!

This is simply wrong and unethical behavior that has grown out of control at this location. Unfortunately, local wildlife managers are doing little to police the situation. I urge all visitors who are frustrated or disgusted with this scene to contact officials and ask them to address the issue. This is one of the best locations in the world to view Snowy Owls during irruption years, let's keep it that way... PROTECT WILDLIFE AND IT'S HABITAT!

Comments • 39

Hugo Chikamori
Guy, as a fellow birder/bird photographer, I know you from one of the two popular birding forums. I think that's exactly what the other two idiots were thinking. But pending further video evidence to the statement, don't go tarnishing everyone with the same brush. Me, personally, I'll stay on the dyke or on the marked trail and wait for the opportunities to come to me. 
kathybaca
Ignorant selfish assholes.
nikographer
Wow, sad.
LeoAsc
Please don't paint all USA citizens with the same brush. I'm a citizen of the US, I have a number of FB contacts with both wildlife photographers pages and rescue & rehab facility pages, and I'm now busy trying to get the word out all over Facebook about this kind of abuse of nature and wildlife. These owls are hungry and sometimes weak, otherwise they wouldn't even be coming this far south from their homes. 
lightwayvez2
I see USA tourists do crap like this all the time !!
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falconrosephoto
Got BC Conservation Officer Service on "speed-dial". Coming down today. I catch anyone in the flats today, I'm taking name, description of person, licence plate number and video of whoever caught in the act. I hope to hell it ain't any one of you. 
Guy Monty
If the shoe fits....
Hugo Chikamori
And get yourself thrown in jail on a weapons charge. Real smart. 
Hugo Chikamori
That wasn't a wide-angle, His 600mm was on the tripod/gimbal left vulnerable and he had his 300mm f/2.8 in hand while crawling up and harassing the snowy owl. 
Hugo Chikamori
Liz, thanks for doing this. The more nature photographers get enraged at the absolute idiocy of these renegades, and call in violations such as these to the Conservation Officers Service, maybe we might get some action on these types of idiots, hopefully in the forms of fines and confiscation of equipment. But then again it can go the other way too and involve a complete ban of people going anywhere on those grounds while a snowy owl migration is in effect. 
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