Code of Ethics for Birders

  • Remember that the birds must always come first. Do enjoy the birds.  Don’t disturb or harass the birds even if it is to figure out what species it is or to get that perfect shot with your camera.
  • Respect the bird’s space and territory. Observation at a distance allows you to observe the bird’s natural behavior.
  • Have a light presence when out watching birds. Speak and travel softly.  Silence will often allow the birds to return to their natural behavior.
  • Be extra, extra sensitive to the birds during the breeding season. Remember that the breeding season occurs at different times for different species.  Birds such as Great-horned Owls begin their breeding cycle in January.  Others start in April, and some don’t begin until June.  Cuckoos can breed as late as September.
  • Do not excessively “pish” or play back recordings of the birds. Use recordings for your own ear only to confirm the species that is vocalizing.
  • Be courteous when you are out birding. You are representing yourself and the birding community.
  • Be aware of where you are. Do not trespass onto private property without the permission of the owner.  Abide by all the rules of a park.  Be cautious when birding roadside whether on foot or in a vehicle.  Never stop in the middle of the road to observe a bird.
  • Be courteous to other users of the space in which you are birding. Do not block trails or paths that are in use by others.
  • Be responsible with optics. Don’t point optics (binoculars, spotting scopes, or cameras) into or toward houses. Do not shine pointers at birds, animals, or people.
  • Consider your environmental impact. Many birders travel great distances to “chase” rare birds.   Be aware of the impact of vehicular travel on the environment before making the decision to travel far afield.  Birding can be done everywhere, and sometimes the best birds are the ones in your yard.
  • Please share your observations. Every observation adds to the scientific database.