Photos of birds at nest not allowed - a reminder

A reminder that photos of birds at the nest (or nests themselves) are not allowed on iSpot as there is the possibility of causing disturbance. We appreciate that in most cases iSpotters will not be causing any disturbance and may even have specific nest cameras. However this is a blanket ban on all photos of this kind as it would be very difficult to enforce any other way. The restriction also applies to bats at the roost.

This is mentioned in our updated terms and conditions section 10.1. This restriction has been in place since the beginning of iSpot.

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Thanks Mike - We were looking at the regulations this weekend - having taken pictures of the House Martins at Limehouse over three seasons. Should we be taking these off?
We are able to photograph Coots at their nests, along the local canals using the camera’s zoom, also there are nesting boxes at East India Dock, which I’ve photographed with a zoom lens - what do you advise?

The advice currently is that any bird at nest is not allowed (I know some have escaped this rule and you do find a few on iSpot that have not yet been taken down).

However if anyone can come up with a better way of approaching this then we would consider it. There is a big difference between disturbing a golden eagle at the nest and walking in a public park where the coots nest right by the path (I have almost had to step over them in one very well used park in London).

The main thing is that it has to prevent any disturbance to the birds and be workable on iSpot where we often only see the final image.

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I think this could be dealt with on a case by cases basis. All cases to be reviewed (there are not many). In most cases the picture is removed immediately via inappropriation (or by the Curator) and a note added to the Description Panel IF that is possible. Bear in mind the Observation may be valuable and an alternative picture could be placed.
Where the review is in favour of keeping it, the note makes clear the reason.

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That sounds like a good idea - dejayM. We’ve had fun checking the House Martin nests that are high above our heads on a busy thoroughfare - we only know that they’re back when we see the parents working on the nests or coming to feed the babies.
I think there was a website that asked for volunteers to monitor the progress. We don’t go that way regularly, though.
Then there were the Terns that used to nest at East India Dock Basin - If I hadn’t met a ranger doing a bird count, I wouldn’t have known why we never see them there anymore. - they’ve moved to a park across the river.
There are quite a few Tern Rafts In the Isle of Dogs area - but no longer terns.; other birds do nest there…
Could the large number of Herons at East India Dock been a problem for the Terns?
I think the erection of nesting boxes at EIDB was linked to monitoring the possibility of aircraft from London City Airport influencing the environment. - Just pondering!!

Have had some input from BTO in the nests issue. I suspect many, if not all, of the birds at nest photos that we have taken down could actually have been left although I suspect not everyone would agree with this.

The issue is finding an appropiate form of words to go in the terms and conditions.

Do we simply remove any mention of birds and nests from the terms and conditions and just mention protected species generally and the need to avoid disturbance of wildlife generally. If there are issues on particular observations then they could be mentioned in the comments on that observation.
On the other hand if there are people with strong views that any nest images means disturbance and disturbance is a bad thing then there could be a lot of very negative comments deliberately to try to get the observation taken down.

An interesting issue. Suppose I find White tailed Eagle by luck and manage to get a photo, say of the young peering out of the nest (it would not be a strictly illegal act). IF I put it on iSpot I would be irresponsible and I hope someone would inappropriate it immediately. But suppose it was a Ring Ouzel and I did not give a precise location - what then?
I don’t think you will be able to write flexible rules and if you do, people will be clambering up ladders at home to get close ups of starling chicks. Actually the Law covers such action anyway.
I’d keep it quiet, not define the circumstances required. When next we see a bird at nest post we should mail YOU and let you take immediate action or add a bold comment, UNLESS it is said Eagle (type), then WE should use our common sense.
Rewrite the rule that exists, make no mention of exceptions.

10.1. Acceptable images

Photos of all types of wildlife from around the world are very welcome on iSpot provided that they have been taken and provided in accordance with local legislation. As a result:
a) Nesting birds are vulnerable to disturbance if not approached with care. It is common practice for them to be protected by law (as is the case in Britain and Ireland). Photographs of nesting birds or nests, with or without eggs are discouraged and may be removed from iSpot without notice
b) Bats are also vulnerable to disturbance. Again, it is common practice for them to be protected by law. In particular, it is generally illegal to intentionally or recklessly disturb a bat at a roost. Photographs of bats at a roost MUST NOT be submitted to iSpot.

I guess what’s not clear to me is why birds nests are called out of a special rule. There is no rule saying that photographs of bats in a winter roost is prohibited (where the probability of disturbance having been caused during photography is much higher).
Is it just that more people want to photograph them than other things?

What about restricting it to only prohibiting nest shots (and perhaps even breeding records) of Schedule 1 birds, and equivalent lists for other taxonomic groups.

The terms and conditions on iSpot have always referred to bats as well.

Restricting it to Schedule 1 species is one possibility that we might consider going forward but no decisions made yet.

Would like to hear from people who think more strict restrictions are required as don’t want to change the regulations only to hear from them later.

I wonder how many users would know if a species was Schedule 1 or not? I certainly wouldn’t.

Isn’t no nesting birds really a pretty minor restriction that we should be able to live with? While I agree that there are plenty of situations where taking a photo of a nest won’t disturb the birds at all I’d question whether it’s worth taking the risk of disturbing them when there should be plenty of opportunities to catch them in the vicinity of a nest without disturbance. A blanket ban on nesting birds has the great benefit of being simple for users to understand and for curators to police. The main problem seems to be that not everyone knows about the rule: what about a pop-up warning, similar to that about eating fungi, to remind people?

I totally agree with Thistle. At present it is a simple rule that is easily understood, why complicate something that has worked well for years.

I think that would be my concern. As a significant part of the purpose of iSpot is to help people develop their ID skills requiring them to have ID skills in order to tell if they are compliant with the rules feels a bit the wrong way round.