In a Facebook group post a few weeks ago there was a huge and controversial post on baiting wildlife that got a lot of comments and also got a terse response and cut-off-of-discussion from the admin.
Why he did not let the comments continue to its conclusion is beyond me, yet he chose to enforce the rules. Rules are rules I suppose, so the guy violating them did deserve to have the conversation halted.
It was the most interesting thing in that group in a long time though, regrettably many of the images in this group have been arguably less quality than they used to be in past years.
The admin said these discussions should happen elsewhere like on a blog or dedicated Facebook page. He attributed the discussion to being a personal attack. I didn’t view it that way. It was worth a discussion.
Too bad FB groups and blogs don’t get these type of discussions going more often. I found myself changing the way I felt after reading through comments from so many around the world. What you find is it isn’t always black and white. The world has a lot of grey… and grey it is with these Conowingo Dam eagles. I categorize the eagles being baited since the Dam spits out fish all day long. The stunned fish were easy prey, hunting skills are not really needed.
The resident eagles are habituated to humans and will come much closer than the eagles passing through. Being habituated to people is one of the baiting arguments, teaching the animal to associate humans with food.
Another negative is changing feeding behavior like at the Dam. From an ethical standpoint, wildlife photographers frown on bringing the subject in close for that ‘award winning shot’. This is also why photographers visit the Dam. It is true, feeding wildlife within the boundaries of any U.S. national park and many State parks, or wildlife refuges are considered illegal. Signs are posted in Niagara Falls State Park too.
They also argue, these “cheaters” are creating a false expectation of what authentic nature photography is like for the photographer. Like it is easy and subjects are readily available to perform for the camera.
After reading through comments, I softened my view on this subject. I found so many hypocritical examples. I myself noted feeder birds and how in my area, hawks of many types visit my garden just for the steady supply of poultry in winter. I have my garden perfectly designed for the safety of the songbirds with many shelter plants, yet certain agile hawks still leave the garden a bloody mess in winter. Some raptors are tiny like a Kestrel, Merlin or falcon. Living on the gorge, they fly right in. No amount of shelter plants keeps the songbirds safe from these flying rockets.