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Thread: Supplemental Feeding: Right or Wrong?

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    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Default Supplemental Feeding: Right or Wrong?

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    I originally posted this image in Friends and Family. Chad Anderson posed some interesting questions. Please feel free to see those questions below, to see my answers, to follow the thread (which promises to be quite interesting), and to chime in as you see fit.
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    chad anderson
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    I don't think I'll be real popular for saying this, but I have to. Keep in mind, I am a biologist who deals with problems resulting from hand fed animals everyday. Do you guys really think feeding birds is ethical? For that matter is it even necessary to photograph snowy egrets?

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    Hi Chad, Do feel free to speak your mind here. I will gladly respond but will begin with a question that pertains to acclimated herons and egrets: have you as a biologist ever considered how these birds have become responsive to being fed? If yes, please explain. Thanks.
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    chad anderson
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    Hi Art,
    Well I have not had to, but the point has been researched ad nauseam for decades. If you do a google scholar search you will find over 22,000 peer reviewed scientific papers on the impacts of supplemental feeding of wildlife. What they generally find out is that the unintended consequences are far reaching, and sometimes not very intuitive. So as far as your question about herons and egrets specifically, no I have not. Here are the problems in general that I think are applicable to feeding any wildlife species.

    -Supplemental feeding of wildlife encourages animals to become dependent on a food source or method of foraging that is not natural
    -Young animals that are taught to depend on humans may never learn natural foraging behaviors and will not be able to pass them on to their offspring, instead they will pass on the deviant behavior that they do know
    -Wildlife that lose there fear of humans are more likely to take on bold and aggressive behaviors in the pursuit of food that can result in injury to humans and animals
    -Wildlife feeding encourages congregation in high densities thereby increasing the chance to spread of disease
    -Supplemental feeding of wildlife when done on a regular basis can raise population numbers which creates stress in the population due to increased competition.
    -The effects of supplemental feeding on wildlife populations has been shown to cause a domino effect among other adjacent non-fed wildlife populations which is not fully understood yet.

    Your actions on their own may seem harmless, but between you and all the other fisherman that share their catch with our wading birds you are part of a much larger problem that is shifting the foraging ecology and therefore the biology of the birds you so much enjoy and love to photograph. But ultimately and at the very least your taking the wildness out of wildlife.

    I guess the main question is this: if there is even the slightest possibility that even a word of what decades of research has said is possibly applicable to egrets, is it really worth the risk to get a close up?

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    Hi Chad,
    re:

    I don't think I'll be real popular for saying this, but I have to. Keep in mind, I am a biologist who deals with problems resulting from hand fed animals everyday.

    I shall keep that in mind. Please give us some examples of the problems that you deal with and how you know that hand feeding was the cause.

    Do you guys really think feeding birds is ethical?

    I do. When you say "feeding birds," are you including seed feeders?

    For that matter is it even necessary to photograph snowy egrets?

    I assume that you mean, is it necessary to feed Snowy Egrets in order to photograph them. If that is correct, I would say no, it is not necessary. But that does not mean that doing so is wrong, unethical, or against any laws or regulations (in most places).

    In places where bird feeding is illegal or a violation of a local ordinance or rule, I would not feed for any purpose.
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    Hi Chad,

    Well I have not had to (my note here: had to consider how these birds, herons and egrets, have become responsive to being fed?), but the point has been researched ad nauseam for decades. If you do a google scholar search you will find over 22,000 peer reviewed scientific papers on the impacts of supplemental feeding of wildlife.

    I was not referring to the impact of supplemental feeding, but to the root cause of habituated herons and egrets especially in Florida.

    You do touch on the point that I was trying to make below, albeit inadvertently. Here is my point: Folks have been fishing on the beaches of Florida probably for 200+ years. Right or wrong, fisherman have been tossing discarded bait to the birds, they have been leaving their bait buckets uncovered, and they have been using their cast nets to capture live bait. On most Florida beachs if you walk down the beach with a cast net you will usually have and egret or two trailing you. That without even throwing the net. If you are successful with your cast net, it is inevitable that some of the live baitfish will escape and be snatched up bu the birds that have been educated for more than 10 decades.

    It is my belief that if there were no fisherman there would be no habituated herons or egrets or gulls or pelicans. And the possiblity of either banning fishing or educating all fisherman are equally remote.

    Yes, birds that come to cast nets may get tangled in the nets, if only rarely. Birds that grab baited hooks and/or lures often become hooked. Many die. Birds that become entangled in discarded fishing line with or without hooks, lures, or sinkers attached can be injured or killed.

    The last time that I checked photographers do not use hooks, fishing line, or lures. If fishing did not exist birds would not be attracted to tossed bait.

    So in the specific case of feeding small fish to herons and egrets, I do not believe the practice to be unethical. Why blame the photographers for a problem that would not exist if fishermen did not exist?

    As for the argement that photographers who feed herons and egrets are perpetuating and reinforcing the habituation, I do not buy it. The birds have become habituated over the course of decades as a result of their encounters with fisherman. I would love to see some studies that explore the possibility that such habituation is passed on genetically. I am betting that it would show that many young birds will approach fisherman instinctively as soon as they see a rod or a bait bucket.

    What they generally find out is that the unintended consequences are far reaching, and sometimes not very intuitive.

    I am no sure where you are going there. Please do explain.

    So as far as your question about herons and egrets specifically, no I have not. Here are the problems in general that I think are applicable to feeding any wildlife species.

    -Supplemental feeding of wildlife encourages animals to become dependent on a food source or method of foraging that is not natural.

    As above, after many decades of being around fisherman habituated behavior has become second "nature" for most birds.

    -Young animals that are taught to depend on humans may never learn natural foraging behaviors and will not be able to pass them on to their offspring, instead they will pass on the deviant behavior that they do know.

    I agree that the deviant behaviour may well be passed on but please, Snowy Egrets know how to fish without being taught by their parents. Always have, always will.

    -Wildlife that lose there fear of humans are more likely to take on bold and aggressive behaviors in the pursuit of food that can result in injury to humans and animals.

    Agree. Blame the fisherman who are out there every single day habituating the birds. Do not blame the bird photographers. At Estero Lagoon,I feed the birds maybe five or six days a year on average. Yes, there are a handlful of other photographers who go to the bother of catching or buying bait, but the total effect is a tiny fraction of that of the local fishermen.

    -Wildlife feeding encourages congregation in high densities thereby increasing the chance to spread of disease

    Can I assumme then that as a biologist that you are against folks with seed feeders or humingbird feeders at their homes?

    -Supplemental feeding of wildlife when done on a regular basis can raise population numbers which creates stress in the population due to increased competition.

    Especially when we are trashing the planet and destroying habitat on a daily basis.

    -The effects of supplemental feeding on wildlife populations has been shown to cause a domino effect among other adjacent non-fed wildlife populations which is not fully understood yet.

    I would love to see those studies.

    Your actions on their own may seem harmless, but between you and all the other fisherman that share their catch with our wading birds you are part of a much larger problem that is shifting the foraging ecology and therefore the biology of the birds you so much enjoy and love to photograph. But ultimately and at the very least your taking the wildness out of wildlife.

    Again, the fishermen are the cause of the problem and they are not going to go away. And again, they are the ones with the hooks and they are the ones who discard their fishing line.

    I guess the main question is this: if there is even the slightest possibility that even a word of what decades of research has said is possibly applicable to egrets, is it really worth the risk to get a close up?

    My position is that there is no risk to the birds in getting close to a photographer. The risks all come from getting close to fishermen, their hooks, lines, and sinkers.

    Respectfully.

    ps: I forgot to mention that if we show up at Estero when there is a natural feeding spree going on we do not feed until the party is over. And, as Peter Kes noted above, at such times (after a big feeding spree), the birds could care less about our fresh bait.
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    If others would like to start discussions here on the baiting of owls or other raptors with live mice (or with live birds), maintaining seed feeders, attracting birds to seed feeders (or to water) for the purpose of photography, feeding bread to gulls, using carcasses to attract wildlife for the purpose of photography, etc., please feel free to open those doors while being sure to maintain civil forms of communication. Thanks.
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    I did not see any answer to the seed feeder issue. I have read in magazines that wild birds only get around 10% of their diet from feeders. If feeders are a problem how about planting grass's and grains for the wildlife to feed on?

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    Jared Gricoskie
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    Art and all,

    I guide and lead workshops in Rocky Mountain National Park and in order to be in good standing for my permits there is a somewhat long list of guidelines (like no flash on animals or birds) the park service has put in place for the animals well being.

    On the feeder bird topic, from the research I have read Gary is on track, most birds use feeders to supliment their diets making only 5-20% of their daily intake, which varies with species. However with a large number of birds visiting a feeder they can easily spread disease, and parasites. The parasites are particularly harmful to nestlings, and our birds are in North America for one reason, to nest. The limiting factor for most perching species are nesting areas or cavities, so more food will not dramatically increase a local population. Feeding birds has impacted their geographical distrubtion, with birds migrating later or not as far south (global warming also impacting this). Other birds are migrating west along river areas in part due to feeding. So eithically if you wash your feeders regularly putting out new seed you aren't doing much harm, but its not all puppies and roses, some harm is being done. But you also have to ask yourself if its ok that your feeding the local bird predators as well.

    Outside the national park I feed birds at feeders, but inside the park one single peanut is a problem. In one area of Rocky called Rainbow Curve the population of Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels and Least Chimpmunks are 8 times higher due to people illegally feeding them. Like Artie said he won't break the rules and I doubt any member of this forum would either, but the lesson is that with such a high population of small mammals they need a proper diet to survive the cold winter. Nearly 3 million vistors come to the park and maybe 1 in 10 people will illegally feed, which one at a time doesn't seem like a lot, but 300,000 people breaking the law is a huge problem. Because these small mammals can not metabolize human food as well as their natural diet they don't produce enough brown fat and they literally freeze to death during the winter. The other factor is of course a few people get bitten each year, but the other factors you have to consider is the plants all these animals feed on are heavily grazed, this restricts what can grow and posionous plants can take over an area further degrading the habitat. The reduced natural grasses reduce the vital food sources of the herbirvous species like the American Pika which may soon be listed as an Endangered Species due to global warming.

    Take this one example of the negative impacts of feeding, and multiply it to every location and habitat, and you can have some very big problems. I literally could go on with dozens more examples.

    The purpose of this rant is point out that one action can have far flung unintended and potentially unknown impacts on the very creatures we are trying to photograph, or worse they can have an impact on countless other species that are far less interesting to the masses. Its those less interesting and less photogenic species that need our protection and respect the most. Subjects have to always come first, and you have to ask yourself how much your photo is worth to you.

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    Jared, By your own admission, in your own words, you rant against feeding birds. Yet you write, "Outside the national park I feed birds at feeders...." Sorry, but once you contradict yourself, the rest of your arguments fail.

    I have always advocated that folks follow the rules in places and I do just that. I have always said that in the matter of ethics in nature photography, the folks who preach (scream) the loudest, are always willing to make exceptions for themselves. In your post above, you have proven me right once again.

    May I ask the purpose of your bird feeding outside the park?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jared Gricoskie View Post
    In one area of Rocky called Rainbow Curve the population of Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels and Least Chimpmunks are 8 times higher due to people illegally feeding them. ........ but the lesson is that with such a high population of small mammals they need a proper diet to survive the cold winter. ........ 300,000 people breaking the law is a huge problem. Because these small mammals can not metabolize human food as well as their natural diet they don't produce enough brown fat and they literally freeze to death during the winter.
    I would like to point out an inconsistency in the above statements. If the human food were so devastating and the chipmunks freeze to death in the winter due to improper food, why is the population 8x normal due to feeding?

    I'm not declaring pro or con on this feeding issue--but sometimes in scientific studies conclusions are reached that have little to do with the real cause. I see this all the time, especially with the environment where multiple complex issues interplay. (I am a planetary scientist have have published on terrestrial environmental and ecosystems as well as planetary topics.)

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    c.w. moynihan
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    I think the Homer Eagles that were fed by Jean is a good example. Were those eagles negatively affected by Jean tossing fish to them on a daily basis ? What about the big numbers of eagles feeding in dumps...is that natural ? Is it hurting the eagles ? While I think biologists feel that baiting is harmful.... in theory, is it really for birds ? Birds are one of the most resourceful creatures in the world and their resourcefulness to feed and survive is underestimated.

    I feel the baiting arguments are more pertinant in regard to carnivores, mainly bears.....because they pose a danger to humans, bears should not be habituated to humans by feeding them. I think that's why places like Yellowstone prohibit such activity for good reason. It saves the bear from it's own demise from being shot if he presents a danger to humans because of the human to food connection.

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    I'm somewhat of a self-admitted hypocrite in this area. More to the point, I'm undecided.

    I can't stand the idea of feeding a mouse to an owl (I find it cruel and distasteful), yet I don't get so squeamish about feeding a fish to an egret. I'm sure the fish doesn't like being eaten any more than the mouse does. It all boils down to what we humans see as cute, cuddly and whether or not we attribute "feelings" to the bait.

    My trip to FL last year caused me to look at things a little more critically though. We all envy the approachable birds down there, yet we don't seem to notice the impact that approachability has on the birds themselves.

    I saw birds tangled in fishing line, birds with hooks stuck in their necks, all manner of other injuries and mishaps that one doesn't see with non-habituated birds. Granted, none of them were tangled in camera straps, but habituation to humans is basically the root of all the issues.

    As for feeders, I put up a few in my yard and tried to keep them clean and sanitary. Then I noticed a finch, then another and another with diseases of the eye (can't remember what it was called right now, but it was highly contagious). My feeders have stood empty for two year now, though I'm thinking about doing some smaller scale feeding this year.

    The other area to consider is the legality of feeding the wildlife. I have great respect for Artie and thoroughly enjoyed the IPT I did last year, but during that IPT feeding was done in places with signs clearly stating that feeding is prohibited. It is probably my military background, but "breaking the rules" made me more uncomfortable in those cases than the feeding itself did. It is, of course, possible that nobody saw the signs but me.

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    Jared Gricoskie
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    Artie,

    What I advocate is not that bird feeding is unethical, its that you need to be aware of the impacts of your actions and mitigate the negative impacts. Then decide if its the best thing for you to do. Each case, each location, and each person will have a different take on it.

    In the past while in PA I fed birds using sterile feeders and shelled seed that would not grow if uneaten. After years working at nature centers it became second nature, and if done right feeding birds at backyard feeders can be an enjoyable experience to see bird life on a daily basis, and have minor negative impact.

    Now in CO, in the last 3 years I have feed once, on a private resort with a large selection of feeders, I tried to reproduce behaviors of Black-billed Magpies I observed inside the national park. These very smart birds inside the park have made the connection of the sound of car windows going down to being fed. The birds outside the park with seed feeders available did not show the same behavior.

    Beyond that experiment I have not fed any wildlife, but I have to admit to feeding.

    Rodger,

    I can't agree with you more that there is never just one cause for things in an ecosystem. Per the ground squirrels and chipmunks, their mortality rates were statistically much higher in that area after accounting for the higher population. The higher mortality was found to be from the non-native food available, and the reduction of brown fat in those animals connected to the food given to them.
    Last edited by Jared Gricoskie; 03-24-2009 at 09:18 AM.

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    I will offer my personal approach and thats all it is, my personal take. I think this is one of those discussions where both sides can make arguments for and against and in the end we haven't concluded a thing or swayed another's opinion.

    Bird feeders: I have several and feel I provide my backyard friends a place to feel safe, secure, fat and happy. I have a couple of cardinals who for generations have been coming back as well as their offspring. If by feeding them they have become dependent on me I am comfortable with that. The fact they have survived, reproduced and are thriving makes me feel I have done something positive.

    Snowy Owls: I have baited these on several occasions. Maybe the means to the end in order to get a great image might seem selfish to some. On the other hand these poor often emaciated birds fly south from their barren bitter cold homes in search of food. To make the argument that they become dependent on us does not hold water as they always return to their place of origin once spring returns. I tend to think the owls have us trained for this behavior more then we are habituating them. I do think that people who bait these birds foremost need to be cognizant of nearby roads and other hazards we might be luring them into.

    Water birds: As a native Floridian I have been fishing in and off shore my whole life. One can be 50 miles out in blue water or on a small lake and the gulls and the other accompanying birds seem to know you will provide them a free meal by either tossing them dead bait or the remains from cleaning your catch. I think of it as a symbiotic relationship. Flying birds in the ocean and elsewhere point me to small schooling fish where of course lie the larger fish I am after. They have already located a source of food and the small pittance I toss them is just some easy pickings. After I leave the area they always stay and go back to depending on their instincts to provide for themselves.

    Shore birds: No personal experience since I am able to find enough on my own to photograph to satisfy myself. I am not opposed to it though. I will add I have tossed many pelicans fish scraps over the years and they seem no worse from mine and others offerings.

    Gators: I venture and live where I can find numerous amounts. I would never feed them because it does encourage them to lose their fear of humans and a habituated gator becomes a dangerous one both to humans and our beloved pets.

    Bears and other large carnivores: We have a place on the Yellowstone river in Mt. Our property is frequented by a few bears and some wolves. I have no desire to encourage them to develop the mindset that instead of following and developing their natural predatory instincts they know where a free meal might be.
    Last edited by Mike Tracy; 03-24-2009 at 09:10 AM. Reason: Kan't spell

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    I don't bait, feed, or phish. It's more enjoyable to me to try and observe their world rather than draw them into mine. Baiting owls worries me....one was killed upstate NY this year when someone let a mouse go which drew the owl in front of a passing car. Also, they know how to hunt and I wonder if feeding them might make them a bit soft when they return to their unbaited world. As for phishing, any time and effort that a breeding bird spends responding to my call is energy that could have been spent looking for a mate. They have a hard enough time of it.

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    Roman Kurywczak
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    Interesting debate and will only add.....go to any fishing pier/beach in Florida.....se how many fisherman feed the birds. Just recently....earlier this month.....I did'n have to do anything......just hang around the fisherman at the end of the day......when they dumped their bait bucket for the birds. It was at the Sanibel fishing pier.....where it is illegal to feed. What do you call dumping a bait bucket?
    1000's more fisherman than photogs on a daily basis do this. what's the difference?? Again.....I'm just playing devil's advocate ......especially whe I see a fishing charter pull into port and all the birds follow because of the scraps.

    As for Homer........bunch of hypocrites.......drive outside the town to the dump.......and see our national symbol feeding on crappy pampers and leftover human food.....same at the Venice dump and countless others. When you throw out your garbage........you do realize where it goes right???? Check out who's feeding there.
    And Jared......while I agree with your principals (and Arti'e for that matter) and practices inside the NP.....most of the people feeding aren't the photogs.....and on that note......they aren't the best examples of good stewardship.......the Yellowstone dumps for Grizzly viewing were only closed recently (as far as history goes)......when they decided to change policy.....they closed them abruptly and the bears suffered......so not the best agency to offer as an example.
    I can offer countless examples here in NJ.....of people feeding deer, racoons, turkeys.......bears getting into garbage....etc.
    What I'm saying is don't single me out because I have a camera........we all have a hand in it somehow.
    Last edited by Roman Kurywczak; 03-24-2009 at 09:39 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Poor View Post
    The other area to consider is the legality of feeding the wildlife. I have great respect for Artie and thoroughly enjoyed the IPT I did last year, but during that IPT feeding was done in places with signs clearly stating that feeding is prohibited. It is probably my military background, but "breaking the rules" made me more uncomfortable in those cases than the feeding itself did. It is, of course, possible that nobody saw the signs but me.
    Jim, Please let me know the area, the signs that you are referring to, and exactly what they said. Thanks.

    ps: I had assumed that you were referring to the Sanibel Fishing Pier, but upon rereading your post I see that you mentioned "places" so now I am really baffled.
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    Again, this is one of those issues that will never be resolved to everyones liking or satisfaction. To me it is simple; 1) Just be respectful to the others around you, 2) Don't do something stupid just to get an image to hang on the wall for your own edification, 3) And the most important issue to remember: We, humans, are not the most intelligent of species sometimes. We have been given the stewardship of this beautiful planet by the creator. He does not take kindly to us ruining the earth. Therefore we are accountable to him and each other for what we do.

    Feeding a few birds at the feeders in the back yards where we have that right, versus dis-obeying the posted rules in other places, or feeding a huge mammal that will rip your head open, like bears or alligators, are two very different issues. VERY DIFFERENT. Let's not ruin the fun by micro managing others viewpoints or putting our ethics above others, blasting them in the forums for doing something we find distasteful. Many here have made some good points. Photographers are a small portion of the equation. We all, all humans, make up this planet. Whether we are fisherman, photographers or boaters, we all bear responsibility to respect the earth. We only have one!

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    Mike, Well rambled.

    Roman, Well said.

    Grace, How about spishing on migration?

    Roger, Well asked, well stated.

    CW, Well asked, well stated.
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    Off the top of my head, it was the area just under one of the bridges. I may actually have the sign in a photo on my back-up drives somewhere. I'll try to dig it up and get more info for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Morris View Post
    Jim, Please let me know the area, the signs that you are referring to, and exactly what they said. Thanks.

    ps: I had assumed that you were referring to the Sanibel Fishing Pier, but upon rereading your post I see that you mentioned "places" so now I am really baffled.

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    Artie, No....they need to be focused on what they are doing, not being distracted by me. It's a tough journey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Poor View Post
    Off the top of my head, it was the area just under one of the bridges. I may actually have the sign in a photo on my back-up drives somewhere. I'll try to dig it up and get more info for you.
    Please do as I am now more baffled than before. I do not recall doing any photography by "a bridge." And you did say "places" implying that I fed illegally in more than one place.

    Pardon me for being touchy but I have been down this road before. After 25 years pretty much everyone knows who I am and I never knowingly violate any regulations or laws. Period.

    Is there a chance that we fed in a spot where a sign had recently been erected that was unseen by me? Perhaps. That is why I am anxious to see the photograph or photographs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grace Scalzo View Post
    Artie, No....they need to be focused on what they are doing, not being distracted by me. It's a tough journey.
    How about just walking through the woods (either during migration or breeding season), stepping on a branch, and startling a bird nearby. Or simply walking down a path and scaring away the birds that are either feeding on the path or near it?
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    . . . implying that I fed illegally in more than one place. . .
    Not really pointing fingers and if I were it would have to be "we" as I had my hand in the bucket too.

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    Artie, if I held myself to that standard, I'd have to take up knitting. I try not to disturb anything (and that includes plants), but yes, it does happen that I crush something, startle a bird, etc. I just try to have the smallest amount of impact to the best that I can and learn from each field mistake that I make.

    I will add here that what I am writing about today is my own ethics as I have determined them to be right for me. They have evolved, and will continue to do so as I spend time in the field. It is up to each to think about and decide for himself.
    Last edited by Grace Scalzo; 03-24-2009 at 11:16 AM. Reason: Added last sentences.

  27. #27
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    Gee, I think I have seen this discussion many times over the last 20 yrs !
    If you set your criteria too high then the only photographs without effect on wildlife would be those shot from orbiting satellites.
    I will have to admit I have softened my thoughts about this subject ,in that I am not as critical as I use to be.
    The spishing argument to me seems a little extreme, although it is officially not legal in National Parks. National Park rules although do not always make sense.

    I confess 1.I feed birds 2.I spish 3. I call ,but use a little sense and only in areas not regularly birded. I limit disturbance ,but of course have to abide by my own conscience. 4. I feed squirrels(I feed birds) 5. I feed opossums(I feed birds). This is beginning to sound like an AA meeting( I also drink a little wine).

    I admire Grace for her stand, but I dont want to take up knitting either.

    Most of us realize the negative impact on feeding dangerous aanimals ,but the general population doesnt. I suspect Floridians will continue to feed alligators and then complain when Fido disappears .

    Well when I reread this I see I was rambling, so be it. I also reserve the right to change my mind.

    Chas.

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    I will touch on a few point s raised above by several. As to fishing and tossing out the guts or left overs. I see no harm there. I have done that for most of my life as well others have for hundreds of years. As long as you do not just cut off the line or toss a hook, throw trash around, littering, then go ahead, I don't think it hurts one bit. Some like Jean or Art, and quite few others I'm sure, toss fish to get a flight image or close up, do it responsibly and no problem, unless posted other wise. I'm sure most of us have feed the animals at one time or another. Just to be cute or to get an image, we've all done it.

    Now bears or gators will get you killed or maimed, so don't do it or suffer the consequences of your actions. The only problem with that is, some one else usually see you do it and then they do it. I saw an old Yellowstone video once where someone ran to-wards a grizzly to image it with an Kodak Instamatic camera, tourist type person, and the ranger was yelling a them to stop. The bear charged them, the person wet themselves, and the ranger shot at the bear. Over time many bears are shot just because some are too stupid for their won good.

    Go to Katmai, McNeil River or Kodiak, and you can pay to have someone guide you to within feet of these guys while they fish for salmon and no one gets hurt. I've never been there or to Homer to see the eagles. I would love to go. I love creation and cherish each moment out in it. But lets be reasonable. Don't feed the bears and you will live a bit longer.

    Birds, to me it is different. In my back yard I have 12 feeding stations for meaties or shelled sunflower seeds, a few suet feeders with fat and peanut butter. I bleach them 6 times per year and rake up all old or moldy droppings. It keeps me sane to feed them. One of my only salvations in these very harsh winters. The songbirds are not harmed and I feel good watching them. But I would not feed the loons in the ponds I frequent. The Maine Wardens will hang you for it.

    But beyond that, the laws, you have to use common sense and moral ethics. Just because it is legal or popular to do something, does not make it right. We have laws to tell us murder and rape are wrong, yet some do that without a second thought. So, when they break those laws, we prosecute them. Now I am not pointing fingers here at Art or anyone else. I've never meet him, only on the phone to buy some great deals. Thanks by the way. Jim took a picture of the "Do not feed the wildlife sign" Why? Did you do so for future reference? Again, why take a picture of a sign, unless you wanted to make a point later about something.

    So, lets all be careful not to throw mud without knowing it. Not to say your throwing mud Jim. I've never meet you either. So I have to assume you and Art are good folks, until otherwise proven to me by my own eyes. Lets just have a good time photographing life as we see it.

    My aim here is not to offend anyone, just to add my thoughts as asked by the original poster, Art. Thanks.

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    Thanks Jim. That info helps. Thanks for saving the evidenence. The area in question was the boat launch by the Sanibel bridge. To the best of my knowledge I never saw that sign, didn't know that feeding wildlife was not permitted in Lee County Parks (I found the ordinance on line), and did not even know that the boat launch was a Lee County Park. Now we can leave the feeding there to the fishermen.

    As far as I know feeding wildlife at Little Estero Lagoon is not forbidden by anmy ordinance. I have done that search.

    Lastly, I am curious as to why you did not mention the sign at the time.
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    Chas. I enjoyed your rambling.

    Grady, Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grace Scalzo View Post
    Artie, if I held myself to that standard, I'd have to take up knitting.
    Hi Grace, That was my point.... I spish on occasion, usually without result.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grady Weed View Post

    . . . Jim took a picture of the "Do not feed the wildlife sign" Why? Did you do so for future reference? Again, why take a picture of a sign, unless you wanted to make a point later about something.

    So, lets all be careful not to throw mud without knowing it. Not to say your throwing mud Jim. I've never meet you either. So I have to assume you and Art are good folks, until otherwise proven to me by my own eyes. Lets just have a good time photographing life as we see it.

    My aim here is not to offend anyone, just to add my thoughts as asked by the original poster, Art. Thanks.
    It was actually kind of a funny bit of irony at the time. I wanted to get a group shot in front of the sign too. Like I said, I've got mixed feelings on the topic as a whole. I had to crank up my external archive just to find it, it's not in my main database. (Every RAW file I have gets backed up before I do any culling so my archive has pictures in it that aren't found anywhere else.) I only posted the picture when asked for details.



    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Morris View Post
    Thanks Jim. That info helps. Thanks for saving the evidenence. The area in question was the boat launch by the Sanibel bridge. To the best of my knowledge I never saw that sign, didn't know that feeding wildlife was not permitted in Lee County Parks (I found the ordinance on line), and did not even know that the boat launch was a Lee County Park. Now we can leave the feeding there to the fishermen.

    As far as I know feeding wildlife at Little Estero Lagoon is not forbidden by anmy ordinance. I have done that search.

    Lastly, I am curious as to why you did not mention the sign at the time.
    Well, I'm shy that way. Actually I did show the sign to a few folks (co-leaders and participants, but not directly to you). On one hand I figured if it was an issue, they would bring it up to you. One of those army things again (handle it at the lowest level). The other factor is that, as I've said, I don't really have a major issue with feeding fish to birds and at that time it was probably even less of an issue than it is now that I've seen the close-ups of birds in distress because they like us humans so much.

    Basically, it wasn't my place and it wasn't a big enough deal for me to make it my place.

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    The Everglades are slowly dying of thirst and pollution with Florida Bay becoming a dead zone. The St Lucie estuaries are decimated about every 5 years from the mismanagement of Lake Okeechobee not to mention the damage done to the lake itself and today i read in the paper of a bill in the state house that would make it easier for developers to drain wetlands with all that and more I think the human feeding of our local birds is the least of their problems.

    If the birds down here and else were have adapted and changed their behavior to take advantage of a new or different food source isn't that what their suppose to do isn't that Darwin's theory at work. While it's true that habituated birds face a new set of challenges and dangers it is also true that non habituated birds with little are no contact with humans are injured and die every day.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Morris View Post
    Mike, Well rambled.
    My wife says I ramble as well.

    I might add that with such a sensitive question posed we have as a community forum discussed this above board. This is one of the reasons I really like this place.
    Last edited by Mike Tracy; 03-24-2009 at 07:07 PM.

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    I am going to take a step away from the issue of birds and talk about another species for a moment. Where I live, there are wild horses. No roads connect my town the the rest of western civilization. If you want to come here, you have to drive on the beach for 10 miles to get here. Its a place like no other in North America. No stores, no pavement, only sand, more sand, and the ocean. Yet every year, we have wild horses that are killed because people feed them. The feeding is done by tourists who visit or vacation in this area, and is primarily done for the sake of photography. Depending upon the month, the season, and even the weather that day, the horses at times can be very difficult to find as they are well adapted to this barrier island. 400 years of genetic isolation will do that. Thus people will at times bring hay, bushels of apples and the like the toss out in order to attract the horses. As these animals, in the summer time, are more active at night time, they stumble across these caches of food and will stick around until the morning or until they are depleted. Problem is though, that these horses digestive tracts cannot handle the same type of foodstuffs that we feed domesticated horses. The result, more often than we would like to think, is that horse ends up perishing due to colic or other complications - including mold developing on the hay. This past summer one family came down from NJ and tossed out a bail of hay to bring in a few horses to where they were staying - this was a Saturday. Thursday morning they woke up with two dead horses in front of their house.

    As a result of the unique situation that I live around, I am somewhat jaded when it comes to the discussion of feeding other types of wildlife. As horses are large charismatic mega-fauna people care what happens to them, and therefore the population of these horses is closely monitored and studied. We know when an individual horse dies, especially from coming into contact with our society. I guess I am left to wonder if we really know what the outcome of feeding birds is in the same respect. Do the sunflower and other seeds that may or may not be native to an area have the same nutritional benefit as native species? If not, is this detrimental to the bird in the long run? Does it impact their survival or the survival of eggs? Simple actions often times have unforeseeable consequences. Lets not forget what happens when we use DDT, as no one could have imagined that the pesticide would have bio-accumulated through the trophic levels of the food chain only to inhibit the ability of birds to properly metabolize calcium thus causing the shells of their eggs to be paper thin. Or, quite in contrast to the issue of DDT, what about the explosion of snow geese numbers to ecologically unsustainable levels as a result of the extensive agricultural feilds along thier paths of migration. As far more snow geese not only return to the Hudson Bay area, but return fit, and with enough energy to breed because of the limitless supply of food along thier migration route, Canada is witnessing a complete ecological collapse around the Hudson Bay and other nesting areas as a result. This is a well documented issue, and one that has made our own federal government consider the opening of market hunting in order to reverse the explosion.

    We all know the old adage that "a fed bear is a dead bear." We also know its not a smart idea to feed the alligators. Such notions come from the fact that we face a very real threat to our own well being from these actions, therefore we do not do it. This is a selfish notion of course, which ultimately dictates most of our actions. It is from selfish want that people feed the wild horses of Carova Beach. They are just not there long enough to see that the big fuzzy animal they loved watching and photographing so much, died the day after they left because of their selfish action. If there have yet to be any long term studies on the effects to birds, than how do we know that our selfish actions are not negatively impacting the animals in question or the communities they live in?

    Cheers,
    Jared

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    This debate was raised just a few weeks ago regarding the end result of feeding Eagles in Alaska. To make a long story short - the end for the Eagles and the towns population was not a good one as some may imagine. What bothered me as much as anything was that it seemed the concern centered on how much money was lost by all on the enterprise, rather than any real concern for the animals involved. While this was an extreme case of abuse many such senarios are playing out all over the world. This is why strick laws apply against it in most countries including this one. If this is what it takes to get close enough for a shot - go to the zoo and don't get me started on that one. :D

  37. #37
    ChasMcRae
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    Of Course !
    We do not know the long term effect of our actions !
    Perhaps in a hundred years we will look back and know ,but now we can only surmise and discuss.
    The Snow Goose discussion is an interesting one because when we intervene a second time ,do we know we are correct ?
    Sometimes I throw up my hands and think of man(us-me) and wonder how in H--- did this all come about and then I know--we overpopulated the earth and threw everything out of balance.
    Forgive the rant but as "Pogo" said we have met the enemy and it is us.
    Well there is my 3 cents(inflation) worth ! and it is worth every bit of 3 cents.
    Heck and all this started with someone feeding a small fish to an Egret !
    Next we should work on global warming,etc !
    Chas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCrystyn View Post
    This debate was raised just a few weeks ago regarding the end result of feeding Eagles in Alaska. To make a long story short - the end for the Eagles and the towns population was not a good one as some may imagine. What bothered me as much as anything was that it seemed the concern centered on how much money was lost by all on the enterprise, rather than any real concern for the animals involved. While this was an extreme case of abuse many such senarios are playing out all over the world. This is why strick laws apply against it in most countries including this one. If this is what it takes to get close enough for a shot - go to the zoo and don't get me started on that one. :D
    Hey Bill,

    Some facts:

    #1:regional populations of Bald Eagles increased dramatically during the 25+ years that Jean fed.
    #2: about five years ago both the Feds and the Alaska Board of Fish and Game considered a ban on eagle feeding and each concluded that the feeding was not detrimental to the eagles. No eagle on the Homer Spit had ever been struck by either a car or a plane.
    #3: The ban, which was enacted by the town council, had zero to do with the health of the eagle population. The number one reason for the ban was "So the people of Homer could better enjoy their lives and their homes" (or something very close to that). The ban was simply political BS, an end run around the decisions noted in #2. The whole thing began with the efforts on one man who did not like the fact that the eagles would occasionally prey on one of his llegally kept pet birds.

    The only problem that I saw in Homer was that when Jean was the only one feeding, the concentration of birds in her compound was way too high--some injuries to eagles were reported over the years, usually the result of birds fighting over the fish. When others, myself included, were permitted to feed, the birds were much more spread out.

    And yes, the wiinter economy of this little fishing and tourist town will be severly crippled unless and until the ban is rescinded.

    I am curious as to what you were inferring by this: "To make a long story short - the end for the Eagles and the towns population was not a good one as some may imagine."

    Please explain.

    Respectfully.
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    Jared, Interesting comments. Two questions: how do the tourists get their bales of hay to the area?

    Are not the wild horses descended from domesticated horses?
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    As far as baiting owls is concerned, my personal feelings and that's all they are, is that baiting these creatures causes stress on a couple of levels:

    -When groups of photographers in the fields of Canada and elsewhere feed these owls it causes stress simply by humans getting to darn close to them en mass and also by changing their natural feeding habits. It appalls me when I see web pages for owl excursions where it clearly states that photographers should bring their wide angle lenses! You tell me.....is it a good thing to be so close to an owl where someone is tempting it toward you with food that you need a wide angle lens for full wing spread images?

    I've personally corresponded with individuals who bragged that the group went through 2 dozen mice in a single day while out shooting both norther hawk owls and snowy owls.

    As far as those who argue that they are doing the owl population a favor by feeding poor starving creatures, I disagree completely. These birds are supposed to hunt for themselves. Those who are unable to do so successfully on their own or in times of low prey cycles, members of the population are supposed to perish. It's simply survival of the fittest and natural selection processes. Prey sources cycle and those who prey upon them have population cycles in response to their food source as well.

    While I don't know the answer from a scientific basis, I have to wonder if providing a snowy owl or northern hawk owl with far more food than it is suppose to have to survive on, causes negative impacts to it's health? Do they get more robust and healthier or do they gain a higher body fat percentage that may have some negative impact on their migration and breeding? Do they get lazy and loose the edge required to hunt and survive on their own?

    Are those who engage in this activity potentially introducing some pathogen from these captive bred mice that the owl might not have a natural resistance to?

    Does it cause them to stay further south longer than they should and cause them to loose their chance at obtaining prime breeding habitat back home?

    This past season there was reported to be a very high success rate of snowy owls up north and a subsequent early and large southward migration of juvenile males in particular. We had juvenile snowy owls on the beaches in northeast Massachusetts the 2nd weekend of October this year, which is unheard of.

    Common sense tells me that large numbers of these birds should perish both from the rigors of the migration, lack of food sources, etc. It's nature...these things are supposed to happen and any impact from humans which might alter this is not a good thing for the overall population in my opinion.

    As far as the images captured by baiting these owls...it is simply bird porn in my eyes brought about by those who could care less about the subjects well being. I feel that they are simply being selfish in needing to obtain that perfect image capture without having to do it the hard way.....by capturing the subject in its natural environment while it is going about it's daily business of existing without human intervention.

  41. #41
    Cliff Beittel
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCrystyn View Post
    This debate was raised just a few weeks ago regarding the end result of feeding Eagles in Alaska. To make a long story short - the end for the Eagles and the towns population was not a good one as some may imagine. What bothered me as much as anything was that it seemed the concern centered on how much money was lost by all on the enterprise, rather than any real concern for the animals involved. While this was an extreme case of abuse . . .
    Feeding eagles is an extreme case of abuse? How about the bounties for eagle carcasses that Alaska paid between 1917 and 1952 (ended only when overruled by federal regulation): over 128,000 bounties paid, and countless other eagles shot and not recovered or turned in. Similarly, eagles were often shot in the lower 48 as potential threats to livestock; in just one reported incident, a Wyoming ranch in 1970 was involved in the shooting of more than 770 Bald Eagles for which the shooters were paid $25/dead eagle. Indeed, of the eagles necropsied at the National Wildlife Health Center between 1963 and 1984, humans were the single greatest cause of Bald Eagle mortality, with shooting the single leading cause of death (despite fines of up to $20,000 under the Bald Eagle Proection Act and the ESA). Then there's DDT and other poisions, oil spills, electrocutions, etc., etc. Read The Birds of North America species account (Buehler, 2000), my source for the above, then come back and explain how feeding eagles is extreme abuse.

  42. #42
    Nonda Surratt
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    Wading in:-) As someone who has worked hands on with both songbirds and small, medium sized wildlife, meaning completely responsible for all of their food needs, what we see them eat in our yards is just a fraction of how much they actually eat, or need to eat, to survive. However supplemental feeding can keep what we call marginal animals alive that might not have made it on their own. So be it.

    Congregating mammals (prey species) and songbirds will attract predators to some degree, bring them in closer to your house. We have the same number of Coops and Sharpies around as we did prior to feeding songbirds. We have fed squirrels for years and as soon as the mast (nut crop) comes on they vanish, we provide nothing more than a nice snack.

    Disease can be an issue, House Finch Conjunctivitis is spread not so much by the birds and buy 'things' keeping feeders clean helps, but even if you never put feeders out HFC is always out there. Wildlife on its very own will congregate in areas of high natural food sources.

    Having 50+ raccoons show up in your yard every night is not a good idea:-) Some serious human health issue there. Suburban feeding of deer is causing quite a few problems in this area right now and not because we don't have plenty of habitat, we do, but wilds are opportunistic and work on the premise of energy used, energy gained.

    The Homer eagles. I asked Dr Erica Miller (Tri-State) what would happen once the feeding stopped and how should it be stopped. Her reply was they should continue feeding until March, the eagles would disperse a few would probably die, the vast majority would do fine. We come back to marginal wilds that on their own would probably have not made it anyway.

    Anything in excess can cause problems, but wilds are much more instinctive and adaptive that we give them credit for. Quit all feeding and some will die, but they were marginals anyway. Not touching on bears:-) And I can certainly understand the no feeding rule in national parks and other parks. Side note a few years ago in SC (I think) there was an Owl that was casing golf balls, general thought was some not good rehab practice with a juvie.

    And another thought..We are in a big migration path and I'm sure some of the G Egrets that fly though here along with various ducks and waders..that pose wonderfully for folks that either live in the summer or winter homes, you can't get within a quarter mile of them here. We are flyover country, they are not comfortable at all and I'm sure many have ate fish at the docks or been fed bread in ponds. There is a huge difference in our year around mallards and honkin huge Canadas as apposed to the migraters of the same species.

    Will add I do think the excessive protracted baiting of a single bird is tacky for a variety of reasons.

    Ramble off be nice please:D

  43. #43
    Bill McCrystyn
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    Originally posted by Arthur Morris:
    Some facts:

    #1:regional populations of Bald Eagles increased dramatically during the 25+ years that Jean fed.
    #2: about five years ago both the Feds and the Alaska Board of Fish and Game considered a ban on eagle feeding and each concluded that the feeding was not detrimental to the eagles. No eagle on the Homer Spit had ever been struck by either a car or a plane.
    #3: The ban, which was enacted by the town council, had zero to do with the health of the eagle population. The number one reason for the ban was "So the people of Homer could better enjoy their lives and their homes" (or something very close to that). The ban was simply political BS, an end run around the decisions noted in #2. The whole thing began with the efforts on one man who did not like the fact that the eagles would occasionally prey on one of his llegally kept pet birds.

    "Facts" noted, I am not clear how relevent #1 is to this specific issue and location. They also increased when they stopped using DDT. I am aware the Eagle has been taken off the endangered species list but that should not give free reign to subjecting them to unatural distrubances.

    #2 If I am not mistaken the Officials concluded that because the Eagles had been hand fed for so long with such regularity, that abruptly cutting them off of their food source would be detrimental and should be weaned off over a time period, not to be left indefinatly. I am not sure the fact they had escaped being hit by a car was one of the main conerns.

    #3 As I said, the end for the Eagles and the towns population was/is not a good one. The town now has a large population of hungry Eagels dempsy dumpster diving and a lot of Eagle poo to deal with. The Eagles wonder were the food source went and in many cases will suffer not able to cope with learning the natural way to find food. Upsetting the balance of the wild and creating "unatural" circumstances never ends well.

    I am sorry if tour people and photographers lost their income source. Having Eagles gather in those numbers much like Pigeons to feed in a park is not how it should be, unless you would like to see the Eagles end up, like the Pigeons in the park.

  44. #44
    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Nondra, Well stated. Serving as devil's advocate here while opening up a new can of worms, if letting nature be nature is the rule--no human hands or intervention allowed--why do we allow bird re-habs facilities to operate?

    (I am personally in favor of such operations....)
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  45. #45
    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Question for Jim Fenton: may we assume that you are opposed to bird rehab operations?
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  46. #46
    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Hi Bill,

    re:

    "Facts" noted, I am not clear how relevent #1 is to this specific issue and location. They also increased when they stopped using DDT. I am aware the Eagle has been taken off the endangered species list but that should not give free reign to subjecting them to unatural distrubances.

    Well, at least we have downgraded from "an extreme case of abuse" to "unnatural disturbances." Bill, those classifications are your opinion. #1 is relevant because if feeding were bad for the birds there numbers would be declining.

    #2 If I am not mistaken the Officials concluded that because the Eagles had been hand fed for so long with such regularity, that abruptly cutting them off of their food source would be detrimental and should be weaned off over a time period, not to be left indefinatly. I am not sure the fact they had escaped being hit by a car was one of the main conerns.

    I do not at all understand your point with regards to #2. Who are these "officials" that you mention? It was the town council of Homer that passed the ban and they do not know squat about the birds or biology.

    #3 As I said, the end for the Eagles and the towns population was/is not a good one. The town now has a large population of hungry Eagels dempsy dumpster diving and a lot of Eagle poo to deal with. The Eagles wonder were the food source went and in many cases will suffer not able to cope with learning the natural way to find food. Upsetting the balance of the wild and creating "unatural" circumstances never ends well.

    Again, thanks for sharing your opinion. The eagles disperse naturally in early spring each year. As for the natural behaviors of eagles any biologist will tell you that they include eating road kill and devouring what they can from garbage dumps.

    I am sorry if tour people and photographers lost their income source.

    My concern is for the restaurant and motel owners on the spit. Funny though that eagle feeding was fine until tour leaders like myself started bring large groups to Homer and profiting from that.

    Having Eagles gather in those numbers much like Pigeons to feed in a park is not how it should be, unless you would like to see the Eagles end up, like the Pigeons in the park.

    For me lots of healthy eagles is not a bad thing. What do you have against pigeons?
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  47. #47
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    More thoughts and questions...

    First, I'll say I'm neutral on baiting by photographers. I can see situations where it won't impact animals, and others where it will. I personally have never baited, but I have photographed in areas with other (non photographers were baiting, or as they would call it feeding the birds, e.g. in a park).

    A good example. There have been Colorado fox images posted by BPN members from Prospect Park, Wheatridge, Colorado. This is a premier location for photographing fox. It is a local greenbelt running through the city. When I learned of this place many years ago, I got up early and was there at sunrise (which was around 5:30am). No foxes. I searched and searched. Nothing. I left without seeing a fox. I came back another time to try again. Sunrise: no foxes. I persisted and stayed longer, and low and behold, after 7am, the foxes started coming out. Well, it turns out the "old people" come out after 7 am for walks and feed the foxes! This has been going on for decades. Then a few years ago the local wildlife officials imposed a $50 fine for feeding the foxes. While feeding dropped, it didn't end as you might expect. But in the last year the fox population suddenly dropped. A scientific study could conclude that stopping feeding resulted in a more natural population. Not so, coyotes moved in and killed many foxes. Like many ecosystems, situations change and populations ebb and flow.

    (In case anyone is interested, here are a few Fox images from prospect park; these are just a few of the probably 5,000 fox images I have done there. The bat-eared fox on the web page is not from Colorado
    http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries/gallery.foxes

    But this leads to questions based on some of the things posted in this thread so far. I have read numerous conflicting reports of bird populations. Is it up or down in North America? How about Europe? I've read different reports saying both up and down. Is there a definitive scientific report? On the web there are reports (not scientific, but sometimes referencing scientific papers, others not so scientific references) such as the thread we recently had about wind turbines and the number of deaths from turbines. One report had about 1/4 of the North American bird population being killed each year by man made things, mostly by collisions with buildings, which is just absurd.

    Chad posted several interesting statements (I'm going to play devil's advocate here):

    - Supplemental feeding of wildlife encourages animals to become dependent on a food source or method of foraging that is not natural

    The human population of the world has changed the equations. Animals must adapt to that fact or perish. Birds have done quite well in that regard, probably related to the adaptability over eons coming from dinosaurs.

    -Wildlife that lose there fear of humans are more likely to take on bold and aggressive behaviors in the pursuit of food that can result in injury to humans and animals

    Yes, I've encountered them. In Rocky Mountain N. Park, the birds will steal a sandwich right out of your hand.
    But the best example is a male-female Canadian geese at a local office park. One goose would come up to you in front honking and making a lot of noise to distract you. The other one would sneak up quietly behind you and steal your lunch!
    Now that is great adaptability. But in the end (e.g. winter comes) the people are not there and the birds must learn/know to do something else. If they can't figure that out, they will perish, and it seems for birds, they have done quite well.

    -Wildlife feeding encourages congregation in high densities thereby increasing the chance to spread of disease

    Works with people too! ;-)

    -Supplemental feeding of wildlife when done on a regular basis can raise population numbers which creates stress in the population due to increased competition.

    Works with people too ;-)

    -The effects of supplemental feeding on wildlife populations has been shown to cause a domino effect among other adjacent non-fed wildlife populations which is not fully understood yet.

    Works with people too. ;-) Can lead to war :-(

    Back to being more serious.
    Jared wrote "Or, quite in contrast to the issue of DDT, what about the explosion of snow geese numbers to ecologically unsustainable levels as a result of the extensive agricultural feilds along thier paths of migration. As far more snow geese not only return to the Hudson Bay area, but return fit, and with enough energy to breed because of the limitless supply of food along thier migration route, Canada is witnessing a complete ecological collapse around the Hudson Bay and other nesting areas as a result."

    Isn't part of this issue due not only to more food from agricultural fields but the fact that man has killed off many predators that would have kept populations more in balance?

    Regardless, it is not likely we will reduce agricultural fields or bring back enough predators. This points to, again, animals must adapt to the presence of man. It looks like some have, perhaps too well. I guess those birds have learned to not hit buildings. Either that or their birth rate has soared to compensate for the 25% loss of hitting buildings each year.

    My general point here is that birds and other animals are adapting to the presence of man, good or bad. And I see no way to educate/legislate the population to have no impact, or even to significantly reduce the impact. Photographers baiting is such a tiny issue in most cases that is is a non-issue in my opinion. (Again, there are probably exceptions.)

  48. #48
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    Roger, Thanks for your excellent comments. I pretty much agree 100% with everything that you said.
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  49. #49
    Bill McCrystyn
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    Arthur, with all due respect, I must say I agree with the other side that has chirped in (no pun intented). I still regard unnecessary association just that - unnecessary. I agree with you that perhaps Nonda said it well. It is refreshing how a group of our nature can get together and agree to disagree while learning from each other. Congratulations for such a fine forum you have. I am proud to be a member of BPN.

  50. #50
    Nonda Surratt
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    Artie,

    When it is nature taking its course we really don't see it. When we (rehabbers) keep track of why animals are admitted to care 95+% are from human impact. We do, on occasion, get in infant wilds (birds and mammals) that have been abandon and that can happen for various reasons. Wilds do not waste their time on defective young, pitch jobs as I call them, and while it isn't always a 'for sure' pitch job when they are they don't survive. OR they do and once so old you realize they will not make it in the wild and are put down, which sucks BTW.

    Do rehabbers make a difference in the grand scheme of things probably not. That said we are often on the leading edge of disease outbreaks and provide a service for people who have cared enough to bring an animal in, making sure it is actually necessary by asking/ answering questions and educating the public about natural behavior. I work very closely with my Wildlife Officer as well as our Division of Wildlife as do most rehabbers so I guess we are useful;)

    Will add one more thing. Rehab mammals done properly and released in to proper habitat, good woods as apposed to urban settings, they can't get away from you fast enough. When they have that choice, when they don't they adapt.
    Last edited by Nonda Surratt; 03-25-2009 at 10:40 AM.

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