Hide Photography (Birdwatching), an Ethical Conflict!

A hide and constant feed especially around the habitats, some water for them to bathe or drink,
is a great way to attract birds. Green covers, a few benches in front of such a set-up, you are good to go. Charge people on per person basis to sit and click pretty pictures of the birds. Best mantra used by all major bird guides and birding resorts/camps for earning. Even bird photographers are more than happy to visit such places, since is a convenient way to click pictures rather than walking up a trail or forest. More and more hides are coming up in different birding hotspots as a result of this. 

Have we birders given it a thought the affects these set-ups may have on the birds and their habitats? First of all,
such artificial set ups disturb these habitats. Consumption of humanly grown crops, which are the usual feed to birds are dangerous too. Secondly, ability to search for their own food changes in long term if animals/birds are fed on a regular basis. Isn’t it ironic how we are destroying their natural habitats and food yet feeding them with the grains grown by man? It is no less than domesticating them. We are somehow contributing in reducing their foraging, looking for their own food kind of skills, we are disrupting their process of evolution on a whole. 

It is believed that when wildlife is observed in their natural habitat, people realize the significance of conservation. But disturbing them in order to conserve them makes less of a sense. Hence,
anything that’s practiced to attract birds’ like- feeding , attracting them through artificial set up, through playback of calls or nocturnal birding using torches just to click their photographs has always been an ethical dilemma for naturalists. Send in your views and suggestions on the same by writing to us.