Goose the Peregrine Falcon – A HawkWatch International education bird – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/13, ISO 2000, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 200mm, natural light
When I was at HawkWatch International last week to see and photograph Galileo the Short-eared Owl that I had a small part in rescuing, Nikki Wayment, who is the Education & Outreach Director at HawkWatch International, also introduced us to some of the other education birds they have there. One of those birds is Goose the Peregrine Falcon and I took a few images of her in her mew. To learn more about Goose and how she came to be an education bird at HawkWatch please click here.
Goose is a beautiful bird and I love this portrait of her, being able to be this close to a Peregrine Falcon is amazing and thrilling and I loved being able to photograph her up close in person as much as I enjoyed photographing Galileo. I’ve made it clear on my post about Galileo and in this post about Goose that they are education birds and in my photo galleries I have included this symbol (C) to indicate they are captive birds.
In fact in my photo galleries the only two captive birds found there as of this date are Galileo and Goose. The reason I place the (C) is because I do not want to deceive or confuse anyone viewing those images into believing they are wild and free birds. They aren’t and it would be totally unethical for me to omit the fact that they are captive.
But some photographers do just that with birds and animals. They omit the fact that they are captive birds or animals which is not real, not honest. And some of those people try to pass off images of captive birds and animals as wild on social media and in print. Whether they are in zoos, aviaries or game farms, those birds and animals are not truly wild and free.
Some time ago a person living in Florida posted a photo on a nature photography site of an owl I knew to be a captive education bird from a park I used to go to when I still lived there. Given that the rules of that site were that no captive birds were to be posted and the guy was new to the site I tried to be nice and asked if the bird was captive and stated that there were rules about them not being posted. He denied it.
Look into the right eye of Goose above and you will see a reflection of the structure of the top of her mew in her eyes. That owl also showed a similar reflection of its mew in its eyes. When confronted with that “fact” by someone other than myself the guy got angry, nasty, defensive and bad mouthed me and others when caught in his lie.
Since then I have checked out the guy’s Facebook page and he misleads people all the time by posting captive birds and animals without telling people they are captive and even goes so far as to (poorly) clone in more natural looking backgrounds in an effort to be even more deceptive. People comment on his images and tell him he “must be a bird whisperer” and he thanks them for it all the while knowing those birds are captive and even brags that he is “the bird whisperer”. To be fair at this point, I know he does photograph some birds in the wild and they are mixed in with the captive birds in his galleries.
It is just wrong to mislead people in that way.
I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with photographing in zoos, aviaries or education centers where birds and animals are captive. They can be great places to practice photography and learn more about our subjects.
I admit that I do have many issues with game farms which I won’t go into now.
I believe that all captive animals and birds, even those photographed and held temporarily captive while being banded, should be labeled as captive any time or any where they are posted on line to keep it real and honest. To not label them as captive is deceptive and disingenuous.