Guidelines for Ethical, Safe, and Informed Birding
Wings Over Water Northwest Birding Festival
Put the Birds First—You're Just an Observer
- The welfare of birds must come first. Bird-watchers / photographers should have no impact on birds. Respect birds’ territories...keep a reasonable distance.
- Do not flush birds or try to make them fly.
- Using recorded calls to attract birds stops them from important activities like feeding. Playback to attract a species during its breeding season is especially harmful.
- Just use your eyes and binoculars/spotting scopes. Laser pointers, flashlights and spotlights are stressful to birds, as is flash photography.
- Sit or crouch so that you appear smaller, and keep movements slow and steady.
- Only handle birds, nests, and eggs for recognized, sanctioned research purposes.
- Keep dogs on a leash, unless in off-leash areas. Clean up dog waste and keep dogs from chasing birds.
Be Safe and Respect Private and Public Property
- It's unsafe to stop your vehicle in a traffic lane. Always pull completely onto the road shoulder to view birds smf if there's no shoulder, move on.
- Wear appropriate clothes, including footwear, and remember sun protection gear such as sunscreen and sunglasses. Wear visible, bright clothing if birding during hunting season.
- Stay hydrated on long birding hikes.
- Tell others of your plans in case you fail to return. Carry a cell phone if possible, but turn off its ringer.
- Respect private property; Ask permission before entering private property.
- Follow rules and regulations of public areas, including leash rules for dogs. Stay on marked trails and be aware of restricted areas.
- Practice common courtesy when interacting with others. Avoid behavior that may distract other birders. Hold conversations in low tones.
Enjoy Your Birding Experience: Have Fun and Support Conservation
- Be patient—take the time to observe.
- Learn about birds through publications, websites, and local and national societies, and educate others.
- Support the protection of bird habitat.
- Observe in the natural habitat. Don't move dead branches, brush or tree limbs to see birds more clearly.
- Use trails to avoid tramping vegetation.
- Leave nothing behind but footprints. Dispose of litter and waste properly.
The above guidelines are based on those published by Mindful Birding (http://bit.ly/2fmLtLA) and are also summarized from the publications and organizations noted on that site on the dates shown, specifically: American Birding Association, accessed 2014; Birding ethics article on about.com by Melissa Mayntz, accessed 2014 and updated December 2015; BirdLife Australia, accessed 2014; British Bird Lovers, accessed 2014; Florida Birding Trail, accessed 2014; Lake Region Audubon Society, accessed 2014; Malaysian Nature Society Bird Conservation Council, accessed 2014; Mangalajodi Eco Tourism, accessed 2014; Mecklenburg Audubon, accessed 2014; Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, accessed 2014; Mountain Bird Festival, accessed 2014 and updated December 2015; Ontario Field Ornithologists, accessed 2014; Portland Audubon, accessed 2014; Sibley’s Birding Basics, accessed 2014; Yosemite National Park, accessed 2014.
More information about birds and ethical birding practices can be found using the links below:
American Birding Association: http://listing.aba.org/ethics/
Mindful Birding: http://bit.ly/2fmLtLA
Audubon Society: http://bit.ly/2gdSjqD