The 5 Rules of Birding Ethics are:
1. Do not disturb birds or their nests.
2. Do not feed birds.
3. Keep your distance from birds.
4. Do not capture or kill birds.
5. Respect the property of others when birding.
Promote the welfare of birds and their environment
The well-being of birds and their habitats is paramount to birding. Birds are indicators of the health of our environment, so it is important to take care of them and their homes. This can be done in a variety of ways, from conserving energy to prevent habitat loss.
Birders should always be respectful of private property and the rights of others. Be sure to obtain permission before entering any private land, and please refrain from disturbing nesting birds or other wildlife.
Dogs and other pets can pose a serious threat to birds, both by harassing them and by spreading disease. Always keep your pet under control and away from areas where rare or sensitive birds might be present.
Leave nothing behind
When you’re finished birding for the day, make sure you leave nothing behind but your footprints. This includes disposing of all trash properly, not disturbing vegetation or leaving marked trails through sensitive habitats.
Respect all wildlife
In addition to promoting the welfare of birds, it is also important to respect all wildlife. Please do not disturb any animals you come across while birding, including mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates – they all play an important role in our ecosystems!
Respect the law, and the rights of others
When birding, always respect the law and the rights of others. This means being aware of and obeying all laws and regulations pertaining to birds, their habitat, and protected areas. It also means respecting private property rights and not trespassing on land that is not open to the public. In addition, birders should be considerate of others by keeping a reasonable distance from them, minimizing noise levels, and avoiding disturbing nesting birds or other wildlife.
Ensure that feeders, nest structures, and other artificial bird environments are safe
When constructing or placing bird feeders, nest boxes, and other artificial bird environments, it is important to consider the safety of the birds that will be using them. Here are five key safety considerations:
Avoid using products that contain lead. Lead poisoning is a serious threat to birds, and even small amounts of lead can be harmful. Look for bird-safe feeders and nesting materials made from alternative materials such as stainless steel or ceramic.
Make sure all sharp edges are smooth. Birds can be injured by sharp edges on feeders, nest boxes, and other structures. Look for smooth edges on all artificial bird environments to help keep birds safe from cuts and scrapes.
Group birding, whether organized or impromptu, requires special care
As birding becomes more popular, the number of people participating in group activities has increased. While group birding can have many benefits, it also requires special care to avoid disturbing birds and their habitat.
The first rule of thumb for group birding is to keep the size of the group small.
Larger groups are more likely to cause disturbance simply due to their size and movement. If you must have a large group, try to break into smaller subgroups that can fan out and cover more ground quietly.
Second, avoid making too much noise while birding.
Birds are easily alarmed by loud noises and will often flee if they perceive a threat. If you must talk, keep your voice down and be aware of other sounds that might carry (e.g., rustling leaves).
Third, give birds plenty of space.
Most birds prefer to keep their distance from humans and will feel threatened if we get too close. When approaching a bird, always do so slowly and carefully from behind or from the side so as not to startle it. And never chase after a bird – this will only tire it out and could potentially injure it in its panicked efforts to escape.
Fourth, respect private property rights when group birding.
Always obtain permission before entering any land that is not publicly accessible (egging farms are particularly sensitive about this). In addition, be sure not to trample plants or otherwise damage habitat in your quest for good views of birds – remember that we share this planet with them and need to take care of it!
Group leader responsibilities
The group leader is responsible for the safety and well-being of the members of their group. They must ensure that everyone in the group is aware of the birding etiquette and guidelines, and that they follow them during the entirety of the trip. The leader must also be familiar with the area in which they are birding, and be able to identify any potential hazards. In case of an emergency, the group leader should have a plan in place to ensure everyone’s safety.
The birding community is filled with passionate individuals who care deeply about protecting the birds they love. By adhering to a set of ethical guidelines, birders can ensure that their actions have a positive impact on birds and their habitats. When everyone does their part to follow the rules, we can all enjoy watching birds for years to come.