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Bright metal

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Old Thursday 26th March 2009, 13:33   #1
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Bright metal

Hi all,

I think the concensus is that dull clothing is preferable, not necessarially as drastic as camo. Likewise, bright metal should also be avoided, hence the ideal birding tripod would not be shiny metal.

My question is, how much difference would it make to the birds?

For instance, if I got my silver tripod as part of a second hand bundle, is it really worth the expense of buying a darker one? It might be interesting to discuss methods of changing the colour?

Another example, I am tempted by Minox HG binoculars because their small format and single turn focusing suits my frequently one handed viewing (notebook and pencil in the other hand whilst surveying or carrying a scope). However, they have a bright shiny metal focusing wheel. Would such a small piece of bright material really reduce my ability to approach birds without flushing them?

Thanks in advance for your comments

Mike Beard
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Old Thursday 26th March 2009, 15:15   #2
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Interesting but possibly unanswerable questions since I doubt if any reliable research has been published on the subject. But I could be wrong & am curious to hear what others may have to say about this.
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Old Thursday 26th March 2009, 20:09   #3
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I'm only a garden bird watcher, so I shouldn't really attempt to answer your queries. However, I'm going to say what I think and see how stupid I end up looking.

I would think that anything shiny, especially metal, would be a huge risk. Birds spend a great deal of time looking out for, and listening for, anything out of the ordinary that might cause them harm. It's not just predators they fear. How many predators clap their hands before they attack? Yet most birds will spook if you clap your hands, or make any loud noise. I know, it's a silly comparison, but birds do get spooked by anything out of the ordinary for their environment.

So if you took a small mirror with you, and reflected the sunlight towards the birds, I think some would get spooked by this. I also think some would see you coming long before you even aimed the mirror towards them.

So if it was me I'd avoid shiny metal if I could, however small.

Now I'll wait for other replies and see how wrong I was.
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Old Thursday 26th March 2009, 20:46   #4
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You could allways tape over the crome and try the tripod for a few weeks to see if you see a difference your self.

Personaly i would try and dull it down.
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Old Thursday 26th March 2009, 21:56   #5
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Maybe, depending on how often you extend and collapse the legs, you could just paint the tripod using Krylon flat/utlra flat colors. The qualifier (depending) is because I think the paint would scrape off here and there, but you could just paint it over. It's easy, dries quick and can be fun if you decide to get creative and attempt a full camoflauge job.
I honestly don't know one way or the other if shiny objects are worrisome to birds but why take the chance?
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Old Thursday 26th March 2009, 22:47   #6
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My scope is shiny bright silver. Never a problem.
But when I point the scope straight on to the birds they fly off. The big objective lens is a huge staring eye to them and they don't like it. To counteract this I tend to point the scope down then slowly upwards until I get the birds in sight. I always pull out the sunshade to prevent any reflection of the glass.
This helps but not always.


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Old Friday 27th March 2009, 05:33   #7
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Is it really a problem?
Some birds are attracted to bright shiny objects (Magpie) and the silver foil tops never prevented Blue Tits from getting at our milk.
Natural sunlight on water does not seem to bother birds either.
It is more likely to be sudden movement that scares them.
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Old Friday 27th March 2009, 09:01   #8
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I've seen plenty of birders with the silver Bogen tripods or the older Leica scopes that were silver not to mention Canon telephoto lenses in that creamy white color (I'm guilty of this one). I've not noticed the birds fleeing them any more than any other person. I've also seen birders wear all sorts of garish colors n the field. As Stranger alluded to, it's usually the actions of the birder that has a greater chance to spook them.
Don't ask me if I've seen any good birds. They're all good.
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Old Tuesday 31st March 2009, 21:22   #9
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Thanks guys. I have found what looks to be a good alternative to the Minox HG without the shiny bits, the Nikon HG L.

I think for general birding what you wear is not that important, the birds will probably know that you and/or other people are around and then they decide for themselves if you are a threat. You can see plenty at binocular range which birds often do not seem to mind.

However, there must be a reason why some bird photographers go to great lengths to conceal themselves. So, I guess it depends on the importantance you assign to getting close and how much effort you will put into stalking.
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Old Sunday 5th April 2009, 19:42   #10
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No need to buy a new tripod.
If you go to your local army surplus store, they should be able to sell you some camouflage tape for a small price.

It will also stop your tripod getting scuffed if you ever decide to sell it on.
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Old Sunday 5th April 2009, 21:00   #11
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Movement and outline seem far more important. That's why photographers trying to get really close to an habitual perch use camo netting or a portable hide so they can move about a bit without blowing their cover. If you just sit still for a bit birds seem to forget you're there anyway.
Marton Mere is not the same place as Martin Mere - My bird pics on Flickr.

Regards, Mike.
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