Jones Beach Owls

This is a public service announcement on my part. I went Jones Beach today and had shocking encounter with two people. They acted like I was too close to the owl. I was not. One claimed she was from the Audubon Society. She said the rule is 500 feet. I told her the signs at the park say 100 feet is the limit of how close you can get. She said there are no signs. I told her there were two I saw. She said the park did not put them up, someone just did that on their own. The man was yelling at me. First, they said I was closer than 500 feet. After I said the rule was 100, then they said I was closer than 100. I was not.

The owl got spooked twice when these people approached. The first time because two people approached from the side opposite me and at a pace that was too fast. I had been there a while and the owl had not moved. As soon as the two people approached quickly, he flew off. I was still and more than 100 feet away. The owl flew off to another dune. The second time the owl flew off was because the man started yelling again. He was standing right next to me. Again I was a lot farther than 100 feet watching the second dune he landed on. The man’s yelling spooked the owl. While he was yelling and the owl started flying, he made sure he got pictures though.

Sign one. It is poor quality due to weather fading, but clearly readable. 100 foot minimum. Department of Environmental Conservation. I was told by one regular photographer here that this is not even the rule at some other places. They post it here. I looked for info on the DEC website about Snowy Owls. A short search did not yield a 100 foot rule. I will still follow it as I have done.

I took pictures of the signs and went into the park office near West End 2 . I told them what happened and asked what the rule was. The lady inside at the desk said 100 feet. She said they put the signs up. She told me not to listen to those people and she was sorry that happened to me.

Sign 2. Clearly readable . 100 foot minimum. These are both at the entrances of the two foot paths to the beach. One is closer to the West End new building. It was on a snow fence. The other I believe was on a pole on the path walking from the building the restrooms are in.

I could say more about what they said and did, but I am trying to hold my tongue. Their actions later did not match up with their 500 foot rule needless to say.

Moral of the story, if you plan to go to see the snowy at Jones Beach follow the 100 feet rule. Do not let these two bully you. They are wrong. One would think yelling near an owl and approaching quickly from a second direction would be major issue if you really cared about owls.

6 thoughts on “Jones Beach Owls”

  1. Jones Beach Owls On Saturday, January 9, 2021, Sharon’s Iconic Travel Photography Blog wrote:

    > sharonsiconictravelphotographyblog posted: ” This is a public service > announcement on my part. I went Jones Beach today and had shocking > encounter with two people. They acted like I was too close to the owl. I > was not. One claimed she was from the Audubon Society. She said the rule is > 500 feet” >

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  2. Pity you didn’t get the man’s picture to report him to a local chapter and Nation Audubon. He could not be an officer or leader in NYC Audubon. Both NYC Audubon and The Linnaean Society of NY adhere to the ABA code of ethics https://www.aba.org/aba-code-of-birding-ethics/ 100 feet is quite close and to get that close one needs to move in slowly and quietly. You know this but I’d like to share it: To move close to a bird watch the bird’s behavior. If it looks agitated, stop and wait until it is settled again before moving any closer – quietly and one step at a time. This takes patience.

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    1. I did that. I moved slowly to where I was. I was there still. Another photographer who saw it said I was still. He also affirmed the two coming up quickly from the other direction is what agitated it. He said the right thing would have been they move slow and came to where I was. I should have taken his picture, but felt it would have escalated things. Someone yelling like that seems unhinges to me. I may have to in the future. Again 100 foot rule is on a sign with DEC on it put up by the park. The fact he had to take images while yelling when it was flying makes him a hypocrite. Would never join Audubon after meeting these two “representatives “. I support other groups.

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