This post will provide a guide that we live by and want to also encourage ALL Feathers and Photos members to abide by before thinking about pressing the shutter to capture a bird image or posting a bird image on our site.
We are responsible for the well-being of the creature, so it is our very conduct that can determine its fate; or its offspring's fate. We are responsible and will not harm in any way to capture an 'incredible' image.
This code of ethics will be added to, as time permits, but let it suffice for now that it is of utmost importance that our actions as photographers bring no harm to habitat or bird; no matter what. If it means we miss that shot, then so be it.
Everybody has a different approach when it come to nature photography. There are many ways to go about getting photographs e.g. stalking, sitting in wait, attracting your quarry etc.... What we'd like to put forward here are some things to consider when your out in the field and should encompass all avenues.
* Consider the welfare of your subject before your own photographic glory.
The longer you spend in the field the greater your understanding of behaviour will become. With this knowledge you will learn to read on body language and be able to make an educated decision that it is time to leave your subject. Often a bird will simply fly off it it doesn't like your company but there are times (e.g. nesting) when the bird will show signs of distress and not leave the area. Observation is the key here and sometimes all that one needs to do is take a few steps back to put your subject at ease. Sometimes over time your subject will learn that you pose no threat and allow very close approach.
* Consideration of others around you.
In some situations there will be more than one photographer or observer at a given location. On these occasions we have to be conscious of our impact on others(as well as the subject). Pursuing a bird to the point of flushing it, when other folks are around, can lead to unpleasant altercations and long lasting disputes. An individual's behaviour may unfortunately lead to stereotyping and disdain for an entire group.
* Using call playback
The use of playback is a hot topic with many differing views on its impact on birds and their behaviour. If playback is used at all it should be used with great care. Knowledge of the target species is also important. Generally speaking it should never be used around nesting birds and potentially during breeding. If a bird doesn't respond to playback after one or two plays of a call the chances are that you will not see a response from the bird at all.