Avoid disturbance to birds around nests 請勿干擾雀鳥營巢

Avoid disturbance to birds around nests 請勿干擾雀鳥營巢

Along the Mai Po Access Road today I was concerned to see a number of photographers close to a nest of Black Drongo. My previous experience of this individual has been that, despite nesting very close to the road, she has been shy of human activity and has been leaving the nest as soon as anyone has walked along the road nearby.

I suggested to the photographers that they may be too close to the nest and may be disturbing the birds, but nobody seemed prepared to move away from the nest. Fortunately the bird has apparently been continuing to feed her small chicks despite the presence of people so close to the nest, as I was lucky enough to witness a few minutes later (I was watching from the car several metres along the road to minimise potential disturbance).

I realise that most people interested in birds are aware of the issues, but some birdwatchers and photographers may be more inexperienced and may not realise that staying close to a nest may be a problem. I would like to remind all photographers and birdwatchers that nesting birds can be VERY prone to disturbance. Some birds may abandon a nest if they think there are predators (including people) in the area. The presence of people may also attract the attention of other potential predators, such as cats or crows, which may return to the nest once the people have left.

In the interest of nesting birds, please avoid causing any unnecessary disturbance if you are lucky enough to find a nest. DO NOT visit the nest, DO NOT disturb vegetation around the nest and PLEASE watch the nest only from a safe distance, preferably somewhere that is not visible to the birds.

Thank you

[ Last edited by Webcreeper at 14/06/2010 23:14 ]


I'm sorry that I cannot read the Chinese posts on the thread, so may be slightly behind on the latest discussion.

I have been past the nest on Saturday, Sunday and Monday this week. On each occasion I have stopped and asked people to move back, expaining how their presence may result in disturbance to the nest. Most people have ignored my arguments, although some have pointed out that the birds are still visiting the nest. Nobody has moved away from the nest. I sympathise for Sze, who seems to have been intimidated by the photographers more than I have.

This morning, when I arrived, the adult bird was perched in the tree carrying food. I moved back from the nest and watched from a safe distance (probably 3-4 times the distance of the photographers!) During a period of 5 mintues, the adult remained near the nest, showing itself to be agitated by flicking its tail constantly. After 5 minutes, it actually flew away from the nest, and I think ate the food itself rather than feeding the chicks. To me, this is clear evidence that the photographers are indeed causing too much disturbance, and are risking the success of the nest. I pointed this out to the photographers, and pointed out that their actions are probably illegal (as explained by Mike above). Nobody moved.

I have now reported the case to AFCD in the hope that they may be able to take some action.

To make matters more frustrating, I personally find that the photos linked to by Katherine are not aesthetically pleasing anyway, with the subject far too large in the frame, and no context to the nest. The large cameras present should be able to take good photographs from a greater distance, and therefore not cause disturbance to the bird. Of course, at the moment I do not know who any of the photographers are, and I do not intend to point fingers in this post. I hope any members of the HKBWS would have more sense than to cause this disturbance to a wild bird, and as Katherine has pointed out there are no photos posted on this website In my opinion, it does not seem appropriate for anyone who is intentionally causing such disturbance to be a member of the bird watching society or to be allowed access into a sensitive wildlife reserve such as Mai Po.


Here are a couple of low-quality photos from this morning.
When I went past, there were 11 photographers this morning, and 2 more arriving as I left. Some of the people I recognised from both Sunday AND Monday (and possibly also Saturday). I know that AFCD visited the site yesterday, but it seems that nothing will stop these photographers.

The most worrying news was that I could only see 2 chicks begging when one of the adults visited. It is possible there are still 3 chicks and I couldn't see one. When I asked the photographers told me that there are still 3, but even so I am worried about whether one chick has been lost already.

It's interesting to know that other bird watchers have noticed this activity and share my concerns about how close these photographers are to the nest.

[Edit: Second photo remove to prevent causing offence]

[ Last edited by ajohn at 17/06/2010 08:32 ]


15-6-10 (1).jpg (24.15 KB)

15/06/2010 11:13

15-6-10 (1).jpg


Dear Ying,
The photos I took were of low resolution and fairly distant. Although I had originally intended to black out the faces of those present, I decided this was not necessary when I saw the quality of the images being posted. I still consider that the individuals involved are not identifiable from the photos, but nevertheless I have removed the closer photo to prevent causing offence. The remaining photo I do not consider can be considered offensive (please let me know if you disagree).

In future, can I request that if you are directly criticising me, you do so via the PM system on the website rather than in the public forum. I would be happy to continue the discussion there, but the subject matter of this thread has now changed considerably. I apologise that I cannot reply to you in Chinese.

My original intention with this post was to highlight the issues surrounding nesting birds and to educate those people who may not have much experience with the issues involved. The drongo nest was initially intended primarily as a topical example to highlight the issues involved. In my opinion it is unfortunate that, after several days of intense discussion, there are still constantly photographers next to the drongo nest. I hope that more space is given as the chicks prepare to fledge - at the moment there is nowhere for the chicks to go on their first flights.

What a shame that there is now concern about the privacy of people who may be breaking the law, but still little regard for the privacy of the birds who are trying to raise their family.

[ Last edited by ajohn at 17/06/2010 10:11 ]