"A Sand County Almanac"

"THERE ARE SOME WHO CAN LIVE WITHOUT WILD THINGS AND SOME WHO CANNOT."
"FOR US IN THE MINORITY THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE GEESE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TELEVISION.".....Aldo Leopold




"LOOK DEEP INTO NATURE, AND THEN YOU WILL UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING BETTER".....Albert Einstein


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"HOW TO MAKE A SNOWY OWL FLY" A Sad Tutorial on Human Behavior

The irruption of Snowy Owls this year has excited interest in many folks, birders, photographers and others.  Some drive hundreds of miles for a glimpse of these beautiful birds that are rarely seen in our area.

Yesterday, after a two hour drive to the New Holland Pennsylvania area, and searching for an additional two hours, we located a Snowy in a field.  The owl was being photographed by a photographer who was keeping a respectful distance, and being careful not to disturb it.  We pulled to the side of the road and began taking photos from our truck.

Several vehicles came and went while we were present with no issues until the arrival of three women in a BMW sedan.  After watching the owl for a short time they began honking the horn of their car and waving their hands in an attempt to get a reaction from the owl...



What happened next was surprising, inconsiderate, rude, and behavior considered unacceptable by all wildlife watchers.  One of the women exited the car and began clapping her hands in an attempt to get the owl to fly.  When this did not work she began approaching the bird...



She continued in the direction of the owl, still clapping her hands...


Until she eventually encroached upon the owls' comfort zone...


And, predictably, the owl took flight...


Behavior such as this is wrong on many levels.  It deprives others from enjoying the bird, in which they may have a great investment of time and money to locate.  More importantly, it causes the animal to react to the presence of the human, placing unnecessary stress on it at a time when it can least afford it.

Take care, stay well, and keep a respectful distance from wildlife when enjoying the wonders of nature.

5 comments:

  1. http://www.projectsnowstorm.org/posts/feb-23-update/

    See Scott's advice at the bottom. Perhaps you will report? I believe what you witnessed and documented is illegal.

    ReplyDelete
  2. She certainly looked old enough to know better. I hope that as your post and photos circulate on the internet, she will see herself and understand how wrong her behavior was, and what others think of her.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks to everyone for the comments. For those of you who may not know the outcome, here is a link to an article that appeared in a Lancaster Pa. newspaper: http://lancasteronline.com/elanco/news/should-this-woman-go-to-jail-for-scaring-a-snowy/article_1ad88388-a08f-11e3-bae9-001a4bcf6878.html?mode=jqm

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is good that your photos got such attention and got the PGC involved. Hopefully she and others will learn to exercise better judgement when watching wildlife as a result of this.

    ReplyDelete

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