Challenges for photographers stalking Little Terns

on 6th September 2014

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

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

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