Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The 'ole Bait and Switch

Peanut butter on the backs of branches interested several different animals.

Another related subject to the idea of staging is the question of whether there is anything wrong with using food to "bait" an animal into coming to a certain location to be photographed.

Before you answer, remember that a hummingbird feeder and birdseed feeder would both qualify as attractants or bait. So would use of a recorded bird call to lure a bird into an area.

Two rules in the personal code of ethics I use is to do no harm to the animal and to not impede it's ability to leave if it so desires. In fact, I try to minimize my presence so I am ignored by the animal either by limiting my movements when they are near or by using a blind.

Turns out, squirrels love fig newtons

A couple of years ago, we had a red fox regularly pass through our yard. It seemed to be attracted by the birds at the feeder and I'm sure it would have eaten a bird if it could have caught one. It is one of the only times I intentionally baited an animal to lure it in with the intention of photographing it.

Baiting the fallen tree was like dressing a Christmas tree. A fig newton
here, some peanut butter there. That is peanut butter on the back of it's paws.

Although it was passing through regularly, it wasn't staying long enough to take many photographs and I wanted to slow it down a little. It would run into the yard at top speed in an attempt to use surprise as a means of catching a bird. So, I bought a cheap cut of meat at the grocery store, drove a nail into a nearby tree about seven feet up, tied a piece of fishing line to the nail and tied the meat in such a way that the line passed through the center of the meat making it a little harder to walk off with. I made the line short enough so that the fox would have to stretch on it's hind legs to investigate the chop and, thus, slow it's passage through the yard.

Making sure it gets every bit of peanut butter

The day the fox discovered the meat, it did stay longer than at any other time, but it really wasn't the meat that kept it there. On this occasion, it was using stealth, sneaking in slowly and moving quietly, trying to catch a bird off guard. It didn't catch a bird, but I was able to take many photos of the animal before it finally checked out the meat. It didn't seem to be aware of the bait until near the end of it's stay. The photos I took while it was retrieving the meat were not as useful as the others I took that morning. What I did learn that morning was a fox lives up to every word used to describe it.

Where are the fox pictures? That's another bait and switch. I'll post some fox pictures one day soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment