My Code of Ethics

It has come to my attention that an individual on FaceBook has been writing disparaging remarks about how, in his opinon, I mis-treat wildlife.  I will not divulge his name, only refer to him as Mr. Doe.  The wildlife in question is a Great Horned Owl in Spring Creek Park here in San Angelo, Texas.  A female has been sitting on the nest for a few weeks.  I have shared the information with a couple of other local birders.  Mr. Doe contends that I shouldn’t have passed this information along, but in the birding community that is called SHARING.  He calls it wildlife harassment.

Of course, everyone that knows me, know that nothing could be farther from the truth.  I, and the other birders that I mentioned,  live by a certain code of ethics when viewing and photographing wildlife of any kind.  I won’t go into great detail, but if you click the links in the next two paragraphs you will know how I feel about the treatment of all wildlife, not only birds.

A friend of mine, Deb Tappan of Knoxville, Tennessee, is, like me, a professional photographer.  She wrote a Code of Ethics (click the link) for her blog and has given me to permission to share it.  It is something that all wildlife photographers should read and heed.  I, myself, try live by it.

In addition, Deb has written other Ethics (click the link) articles that outdoor enthusiasts may find of interest.  While you are there, check out the galleries of photos by this extraordinary nature photographer.

I am going to add a page to my blog called Code of Ethics.  You will be able to refer to these articles anytime by clicking on that page at the top of this blog.

Great Horned Owl - female on nest.

Great Horned Owl – female on nest.

Above is the owl that is mentioned in this blog.  Since I took this photo, I drive by several times a week.  I can see her from the car and I don’t usually stop.  Any photo that I would take would only be a duplicate, as there only one angle where one can get a glimpse.  Surprisingly, the tree is next to the road, children play nearby, people camp under it.  She so far is unperturbed by the activity.  I hope she stays contented completely through her birthing term.  I will be anxious to see some of her offspring sitting on the branches in a month or two.

20 thoughts on “My Code of Ethics

  1. well Mr. Bob, some people are not happy unless they are stirring the pot.

    As you know I live in the mountains in Western NC, I have seen Elk, Black Bear, Whitetail Deer, and other smaller wildlife in my front/back yard and around my 160 acres.
    I do not put out food to entice them, but I do place extra salt licks around the horse pasture, I plant a bigger garden than I normally would. The deer and elk seem to like green peas and corn seems to get nibbled on alot also.
    I don’t hunt anymore, nor do I allow it on my property, my aunt and uncle own almost 200 acres next to mine, plus the land next to ours backs up to the National park, so there’s no hunting there either, so wildlife is pretty safe.
    I have bird-feeders in the front and back yards because I enjoy all the song birds.

    Some people would call what I do baiting or feeding the animals, I call it what it really is, putting out more salt licks for the horses, planting a bigger garden so I can give some away to a needy family if I have any extra, and I suppose the bird feeders could really be considered feeding the birds.

    Anyway, keep doing what you’re doing, you know the truth and in the end, that’s all that matters.

    Awesome photo as always,


    • Hi Raven, always nice to hear from you. Don’t worry, I think baiting is when someone tosses a chunk of meat out, solely to get a photograph. I don’t consider bird feeders or gardens, etc, baiting. I am glad you are still reading and enjoying my blog.

  2. Unfortunately, there have been some trolls trying to stir things up on BOT lately too. All I know is you post some great pictures and information and haters are gonna hate.

  3. Margaret and I know that you are an exemplary naturalist and photographer. You have taught us much. We admire your work and we value your friendship. The old idiom that refers to “water rolling off of a duck’s back” may be more appropriately stated “as water rolling off of an owl’s back.” I will never forget you and Ann devoting a day of your busy schedule, showing us the wonders of birding. What a day! Ernie

  4. Given your love of nature (evident in your posts) and your knowledge, I’m amazed anyone would level such an accusation at you. Please carry on with sharing your beautiful birds. I’m am going to look into the Code of Ethics link.

  5. Bob, one of our friends owns a birdwatching tour company and he has led (and still leads) tours all over the world, including Texas. I used to do a lot of work for him. He uses local guides to source his info, and he upholds all the codes of behaviour and ethics – he would be out of business if he did not. Sharing is key to his success. I cannot see how you have endangered the bird merely by sharing photos of it. Your love and respect for wildlife is always evident in all your posts. Do not pay this guy any more attention!

    • Thanks for your nice comment, Jo. I appreciate it. This individual just enjoys trying to dis-credit me. I pretty much ignore him. I have blocked him on FB so I don’t have to read his stuff anymore.

  6. These people are called control freaks. Sorry you’re having trouble with them.

    On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 7:01 PM, Texas Tweeties by Bob Zeller wrote:

    > Bob Zeller posted: “It has come to my attention that an individual on > FaceBook has been writing disparaging remarks about how, in his opinon, I > mis-treat wildlife. I will not divulge his name, only refer to him as Mr. > Doe. The wildlife in question is a Great Horned Owl in ” >

  7. I am giving a talk in a few weeks and was asked to mention a code of conduct on birds (following that code no photographs would be possible) I much prefer the one you cited. Thanks for pointing it out.

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