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Nesting Bird Ethics

Right now is a great time to be out if you’re a wildlife photographer, because spring is here and birds have begun to nest. It can be a lot of fun to watch the cycle of life start and all birds have a unique style to their courtship, nest building, habitat, birth, feeding and when they have fledged. While it is a lot of fun to watch, it’s very important that we as observers don’t get in the the parents way. The biggest issue is forcing the parents off of the nest during incubation.

Every species is unique and knowing their biology is critical. The amount of time a parent can leave the nest varies dramatically between species. Some can take over an hour but others only mere minutes. That means life or death if you disturb the nest trying to get the photo. Knowing your biology is so important so that you don’t endanger the subject. That’s why I wasn’t worried when I found this Canada Goose nest. Canada Geese are known to take anywhere from ten minutes to an hour away from the nest. The incubation time is anywhere from 25-30 days and the eggs are known to be rather hardy when it comes to the environment. Now even if the parents aren’t on the nest they are always nearby watching. Canada Geese are very territorial. This was taken with the D5 and 24-70 AF-S. It was a quick shot to show this particular piece of biology along with the habitat they live in, without disturbing the nest. We as wildlife photographers have to respect the species we work with and know when to put the camera down.

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