Watch: Does Twitter bring trouble for birds?

A young snowy owl caused a stir among birders when it landed in a baseball field in Central Park.
Credit: fralala3

The question came to the fore when the Twitter account Manhattan Bird Alert announced the rare appearance of a snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) in Central Park, prompting a gaggle of birdwatchers to seek out a bird that rarely winters so far south. These apps make it easy for birders to learn about unusual sightings. They can even aid bird rescuers.

“But not everyone in the birding community is thrilled about the idea of focusing the attention of the internet on a bird that’s not in need, and is likely to draw a flock of admirers,” Wired magazine writes. “Crowds can make birds uneasy and affect their normal behavior. Birds may perceive all those humans as predators or competition for food. Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how all those leering people with cameras, jockeying for position or slowly inching forward for a better look, are changing the bird’s behavior.”

Read more in Wired.