Owl photos banned by Facebook groups to deter disturbance


In North America, Facebook groups have begun rejecting Snowy Owl photo submissions in order to try and reduce disturbance to the birds.

Amateur photographers are being urged to stop taking snaps of the owls amid concerns that the intrusive behaviour by some may be doing harm. According to a report by Bangor Daily News, several social media groups are now refusing to post Snowy Owl photos in an attempt to discourage the "paparazzi-like behaviour" of some photographers.

Snowy Owls are popular subjects for photographers (Jon Mercer).

Facebook group Maine Wildlife, which boasts more than 127,000 members, is among those to have begun rejecting Snowy Owl image submissions. Troy Dyer, one of the group's administrators, told Newsweek the issue was first brought to light by several professional photographers in the group.

Bangor Daily News reports that a similar ban has been implemented by the Chicago Audubon Society. Speaking to the news outlet, Doug Hitchcox, a naturalist at Maine Audubon, explained that the problem lies in the fact Snowy Owls roost and sleep in open spaces during the day, making them easy to spot and disrupt.

"Everyone seems to want the flight shot, which you won't get when it's roosting, or the portrait shot so they are way too close," he said. "I have definitely seen over the years photos of [Snowy Owls] that were taken so close to the owl it caused the bird to wake up and fly off, expending valuable energy it needs to survive the winter."