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Subject:[mou-net] Regarding Whooping Crane Ethics...
From:Rare Bird Alert <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Sun, 18 Sep 2011 14:20:23 -0600
Content-Type:text/plain

First let me state that I'm not trying to start an argument, just looking to gain insight into this compelling scenario.

I appreciate people that put forth the time and effort to be in the field and then share sightings of the birds that they
see.  I did not go look for the cranes.  I've never chased after any birds south of Carlton County....yet.  I can easily
tell from the posts about the cranes and subsequent ethical issues, that the posters care deeply for their subjects
of interest.  That is very admirable, uncommon in this day and of age of mass disconnection from the natural world,
and deserved of respect.  So it is with that background of thought that I am putting forth these questions.  I do make 
a few assertions that are merely opinions and perceptions.  Basically, I am just looking for greater insight into this
situation because I am at a point in my relationship with nature where developing my own ethical guidelines is an
ever increasing matter of importance.  I readily admit that I've made many mistakes in regards to ethical scenarios
regarding birds thus far.  No one is perfect, and I am certainly part of the "no one" in that sense.  But, I seek to do
better, and with that in mind, any feedback to these questions will be greatly appreciated.


1: In the original posting about the cranes, the poster stated that the birds were in a "wetland". Later, in the same post, the writer states his wish that people not "trespass into the field or wetland." So, is there, (was there) a "No Trespassing" sign posted? Is this private property? Because if it's not private property, what law is being broken by entering the area?
2: If there are "No Trespassing" signs, did the poster have a dialogue with the land owner prior to posting the sighting? Knowing full well of course that a number of people would visit the area, I would think this paramount. Frankly, if he did not, that, in and of itself was unethical in my opinion. Similar to obtaining permission from homeowners to post information about a rare bird being seen at their feeder....
3: If this was private property, how does ANYBODY know that the individual photographing the birds was not the owner of said property??? Or, did not have permission from the owner to go into the field??? 
4: Is it not a HUGE assumption (unless the individual's identity was already known by the poster who took his picture/license plate picture), that the person in question went to the field based on information posted on the MOU? Whooping Cranes are huge, white, and very noticeable. Anybody might have been driving by that area, (and or observed others with optics viewing the birds), and been interested in what was going on, and made a subsequent approach on the birds, possibly even unaware of their endangered status...
5. In his post on MOU about wether or not he should put the photos of the individual on his website, the writer only states that the person was in the field next to the cranes. He does not state wether the cranes were moving away from that location and the individual was pursuing them...If not, how can this be construed as harassment? For all that is known, based on the posts on MOU, the cranes did not mind the presence of the individual in the least and there was zero "harassment" going on.
6. Why in the world, if so bothered by the activity of the photographer, did the MOU poster not attempt to have a dialogue with the person about his concerns? Honestly, the way this has played out, seems to portray "birders" (over generalizing quite a bit there), as elitist snobs, who believe their way of interacting with wildlife is the "only" appropriate way. I can envision a number of scenarios where the "photographer" was just struck by the sheer beauty of the subjects and wanted to be closer, with nothing but the purest of motivations. Why must the worst be assumed, i.e. "selfish, un-ethical". 
There are millions of people in this country that don't even know what a whooping crane is, why vilify somebody who obviously recognized something special in the natural world and wanted to get close?


Regards, 
Shawn Zierman.

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