Challenges for photographers stalking Little Terns

posted in: Photography | 1

In August 2014 a man was caught on camera tying the leg of a Little Tren (Sterna albifrons) chick to a bush so as to get a better photograph of the bird LINK. Did he really need to do that just to get a shot of the chick? Is his photographic skill so bad that he had to resort to such a method? A novice photographer can easily succeed just be waiting patiently for the right moment.

Handling wildlife is unethical in wildlife photography. And when news of his bad behaviour became common knowledge in the internet, netizens were outraged and rightly so.

Wildlife photography is a challenge. And if any photographer is in need of a challenge, why not go for the unusual?

Photographing a chick is no big deal. But photographing the adult tern picking up the shell after the egg has hatched and flying off to dispose it some distance away needs timing, patience and a little bit of luck. Such shots are rare and as such, prized.

The above images are courtesy of Dr Jonathan Cheah Weng Kong LINK.

And why do the adults remove the eggshell? The outer surface of the egg is well camouflaged and as such the egg is not easily noticed by predators. However, after hatching, the inner white surface of the egg shell attracts attention and thus needs to be dumped far away.

Dr Jonathan Cheah Weng Kong & YC Wee
august 2014

  1. Bird Ecology Study Group Nesting of the Black-winged Stilt

    […] It was not ascertained whether the other two eggs hatched. It could be possible that the eggs were predated, of if hatched, the chicks were either in hiding or had been predated. There were no signs of the shells in the nest. But then it is usual with surface nesting birds for the adults to dispose of them some distance away, as seen in Little Terns (Sterna albifrons). […]

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