Today's birdwatchers are a powerful force for nature conservation. The number of those of us interested in birds rises continually, and it is vital that we take seriously our responsibility to avoid any harm to birds or the environment on which they depend. We believe that all birders have an obligation at all times to protect wildlife, the natural environment and the rights of others. We therefore pledge ourselves to provide leadership in meeting this obligation by adhering to the following general guidelines of good birding behavior.
Birders should always act in ways that do not endanger the welfare of birds and other wildlife. Since birds' tolerance of disturbance varies between species and seasons, it is safer to keep all disturbances to a minimum. In keeping with this principle we will:
- Observe and photograph birds without knowingly disturbing them in any significant way.
- Avoid chasing or repeatedly flushing birds.
- Only sparingly use recordings and similar methods of attracting birds and not use these methods in heavily birded areas, especially during breeding season.
- Keep an appropriate distance from nests and nesting colonies so as not to disturb them or expose them to danger.
- Refrain from handling birds or eggs unless engaged in recognized research activities.
Birders should always act in ways that do not harm the natural environment. In keeping with this principle we will:
- Stay on existing roads, trails and pathways whenever possible.
- Avoid trampling vegetation or otherwise disturbing fragile habitat.
- Be especially careful near breeding habitat.
Birders should always respect the rights of others. In keeping with this principle we will:
- Respect the privacy and property of others by observing "No Trespassing" signs and by asking permission to enter private or posted lands.
- Observe all laws and the rules and regulations which govern the use of public lands.
- Practice common courtesy in our contacts with others and always behave in a manner that will enhance the image of the birding community in the eyes of the public.
Birders in groups should assume special responsibilities. As group members, we will:
- Take care to alleviate the problems and disturbances that are multiplied when more people are present.
- Act in consideration of the group's interests as well as our own, and be especially accommodating to new birders.
- Realize a camera offers no privileges to push in front of others before everyone in the group has finished watching the bird.
- When using hand-held Radios in the field, be cognizant of others and adjust the volume to a level low enough that allows you to hear a radio transmission without disturbing others. If possible, put some distance between you and others while using hand-held radios and consider the use of an "Earbud" to keep any transmissions between you and other hand-held radio users private.
- Support, by our actions, the responsibility of the group leader or leaders for the conduct of the group.
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