Guidelines for Bird Walk Participants and Leaders

Guidelines For Bird Walk Participants

  • RSVP to the walk if requested. If you must cancel, inform the leader.
  • Have a light presence when in the field. Speak softly and move quietly.
  • Be courteous to the other participants. Do not block the views of others.  If using a shared spotting scope, observe the target bird briefly before giving others a chance to look.  Return to the scope for a second view after everyone has had a look (if possible.)
  • Stay together as a group. Do not walk ahead of the leader or lag too far behind.
  • Never play any recordings or audio playback, and do not “pish”. The leader will determine whether or not those actions are appropriate during the walk.
  • Do not talk on the phone or carry on loud conversations.
  • Bring your own water and snacks and dress appropriately, including footwear. Pack out any trash – yours and that left behind by others.
  • Inform the walk leader if you need any special accommodations or if you need to leave early.

Guidelines For Bird Walk Leaders

  • Arrive 15 minutes or more before the scheduled departure time.
  • Make sure everyone signs in, is appropriately outfitted, and answer any questions before beginning the walk. Review the intended distance, duration, and terrain of the walk and any target species. 
  • Bring extra binoculars if you have them and are comfortable sharing them. Bring one or more copies of printed field guides and a pointer if appropriate.
  • Unless the birding is exceptional from the parking/meeting area, try to depart on time.
  • Model a light presence when in the field, and encourage all participants to do the same. Encourage questions, but answer in as quiet a voice as possible.  
  • Keep the group together. Try to ensure that each participant has an opportunity to see every noted bird.
  • Do not use playback or recordings to attract birds, unless under special circumstances (such as an owling walk.)
  • Be very cautious and conservative about employing “pishing” to attract birds, especially during breeding season. If a participant requests to pish or use playback, or asks you to, explain how problematic that can be for the birds.
  • Ensure that participants take brief turns while observing through a shared spotting scope until everyone has had a chance at the scope.
  • If using a laser pointer, only point the beam at a reference point near the bird – never directly at or even within a few feet of it.
  • Never trespass onto private property without permission. Follow all rules at walk locations. 
  • Exercise great caution when taking a group along any roadway. If it is necessary to do so, keep all participants in single file facing into traffic.
  • Always keep a list of group bird observations to share with walk participants.