Long-billed Curlew chickLong-billed Curlew chick – Look & photograph but don’t touch

Yesterday I became aware of two photographers in Florida who went beyond what is considered “ethical” to get photos of a Sandhill Crane chick and it ticked me off. Another photographer was able to take images of the photographers and it ended up in the news.

One of the photographers, or rather one of the guys with a camera,  was petting the Sandhill Crane chick and per Cathy Terry, the photographer who took images of them:

“When I zoomed in on the photo, I realized he had his hand crooked under the neck and his finger like that,” she said, demonstrating. “Holding it up so the other guy could get a close up of the chick’s face.”

You can see the full article here: Over-friendly photographers could face charges

The article originally said that these cranes are endangered and that wasn’t correct but they are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act – Antigone canadensis, Sandhill Crane.

These guys with cameras should not have approached the crane chick so close and they certainly should not have been touching it. The fact that they made the news can damage the reputation of other bird and wildlife photographers which possibly could put new and harsher restrictions on the rest of us. It was a dumb thing to do, period.

These guys with cameras showed a lack of wildlife ethics and quite frankly that is not acceptable.

Two places to read about good field ethics: Principles of Birding Ethics published by the American Birding Association and NANPA’s Ethical Practices (pdf)

Red Fox Kit portraitRed Fox Kit portrait – Look & photograph but don’t touch

Young animals can look adorable but they shouldn’t be touched either. I recall the day I photographed several Red Fox kits, they were curious and came right up to the pickup and I believe if I had been outside of it they would have come right up to me. That could have caused them problems by getting them used to people.

“Any contact with an animal, especially when they’re young, can make them less afraid of humans and more suspect to getting hurt,” stated Officer Baryl Martin of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.”

Both of the images here were taken with a long lens to reduce stress on the young animals.

I do hope that non-photographers and the general public know that behavior like this is an exception and that ethical photographers would not have gone up and petted the Sandhill Cranes.