Ethical Photography

being a responsible bird friend

When I am out and about, I make sure to be as quiet as possible, follow the leave no trace rule and ask myself, “Could my actions be harmful to the birds?”

I don’t use a flash and my Tamron 100 – 400mm lens is my best friend for getting close to birds. Sure, sometimes I wish I could be closer to them but then I remind myself who is the priority here: the bird, of course.

While I do enjoy watching birds visiting feeders and photographing them, I do not set bait.

At all times, I keep Audubon’s Rules for Ethical Bird Photography in mind.

I like the excitement I feel when I finally spot a new bird (or old bird friend) and for me, that’s part of the thrill I get out of photographing them. It’s like a game: one that they control and I get a kick out of playing. And when I get that perfect photo, well then, I just get all giddy.

Yup, I sure like birds.

A Brief Guide to Ethical Photography:

  • Avoid causing unnecessary disturbance or stress to birds.
  • Nesting birds are particularly vulnerable and need special consideration.
  • Beach-nesting birds (shorebirds and seabirds) require special care.
  • Luring birds closer for photography may be possible but should be done in a responsible way. The guiding principle: Could it be harmful to the bird? Always research the species and its behavior.
  • Show respect for private and public property, and consideration for other people.
  • When choosing to photograph at a zoo, sanctuary, or rehabilitation center, make sure it’s properly accredited and conforms to best practices.
  • It’s essential to be thoughtful about sharing and captioning your bird photos, in print, online, and for social media.

From Audubon’s Rules for Ethical Bird Photography