The issue of ethics is always thorny - and of course there is no right answer.
From my perspective there are possibly 2 major issues of ethics involved
1. Was uneccessary harm caused to animals
As taking photographs is an uneccessary activity (unlike getting food or protecting oneself), I think it is unjustified to cause harm to creatures to get a photograph. It appears to me that you are not causing harm. Your feeding of the birds seems like a reasonable response to the harm we cause by building cities on their natural habitat. Certainly in the UK it is promoted in our cities.
2. Do I lie to people about how the photos were taken?
"Photo of XXX bird taken in my garden" or "I struggled through the bush for three weeks, sat in a ditch for six months being eaten by insects to finally get this image"
Other issues surrounding what is or is not acceptable in taking photographs appear to be an arbitrary set of standards agreed between some photographers. (Although you could of course argue that ethics themselves are arbitrarily agreed standards). Are these standards important - it depends on whether you care about what those people think! If you enter a competition where the rules state what is and is not allowed then it is important.
Is it ethical to use a background? Is it ethical to move grass?
Is it ethical to use a long lens? (it could deceive people into thinking you were closer than you really were). Is it ethical to use a fast burst on your camera? (you present one picture that looks like you carefuly chose it when shooting). Is it ethical to use autofocus? High ISO? What about post processing? (I am not suggesting these are un-ethical - they are a group of arbitrary conventioins about what is or is not acceptable.)
If we want to think of real ethical issues (these are not talking about you - you just got me thinking!)
Is it ethical to spend $5000 on camera equipment when children around the world do not have enough to eat?
Is it ethical to buy a camera from Amazon who avoid taxes all over the world (but I do pay VAT in the UK)
Is it ethical to buy grey imports avoiding tax altogether?
Is it ethical to process my photos on an Apple computer when Apple avoid tax?
Is it ethical to pay tax when money can be used for illegal activities? But it is also used for many positive activities.
Is it ethical to use a mobile phone or computer when I know some of the rare metals used fund warfare and oppression in parts of Africa? (Which I only know about because I have used my computer!)
Is it ethical to fly to my safari holiday when I know that the flight damages the environment? Is it ethical not to go when I know this will impact on employment and the value of wildlife?
Is it ethical to use cotton, that can cause environmental damage because of the large amount of water and chemicals used, and the probable use of child labour. Or is it ethical not to use cotton, and put these children out of work and possible into homelessness, child prostitution or starvation.
Is it ethical to eat beef fed on soya, grown in Brazil, on illegally logged land, destroying wildlife and leading to the murder of large numbers of environmental activists (see other thread)
The list is endless really.......
From my perspective what you do is not unethical - and I always enjoy looking at your bird photographs - so please keep posting them
Edited by TonyQ, 31 August 2015 - 07:47 AM.