Parts of the United States are experiencing an influx of snowy owls this winter season. Minnesota is experiencing a small part of the increased presence . We understand the excitement and awe that many have to see these owls up close. However, please remember that these ghostly visitors can easily be affected by our actions. All of us play a role in true conservation.
We’d like to share some resources and information to make the experience of watching wild raptors a good experience for all involved:
- View wildlife from a safe distance for both you and them. If the animal interrupts its behavior (resting, feeding, etc.), then you are too close and must distance yourself.
· Never crowd, pursue, prevent escape, make deliberate noises to distract, startle or harass wildlife. The impact is cumulative. Consider that you may be the 65th person to yell “hey bird, etc.” at that animal that day while it’s attempting to tend to its young.
· Never feed or leave food (baiting) for wildlife. Habituation due to handouts can result in disease or even death of that animal and injury to you.
- Do not enter private property without permission of the landowner.
- Stay on roads, trails and paths where they exist; keep habitat disturbance to a minimum and acquaint yourself with the fragility of the ecosystem.
· Respect the routine needs of animals—remember that others will attempt to photograph them, too. The welfare of the subject and habitat are irrefutably more important than the photograph. Use appropriate lenses to photograph wild animals - if the animal shows stress, move back and use a longer lens.
North American Nature Photography Association Principles of Ethical Field Practices: http://www.nanpa.org/committees/ethics/
Audubon Pacific Flyway Audublog Bird Photography Code of Ethics: http://www.audublog.org/?p=8351