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Birding Etiquette

Like all things in life, there are certain rules to bird by, which are often very much aligned with simple environmental rules.  First, leave nothing behind but footprints.  A birder must understand that they are in the bird’s world, and in order to preserve this world for years to come, things that are out of place, like wrappers and bottles, should not be left behind.  This simple rule also extends itself to include picking up trash that may be found on trails. 

Second, do not disturb your subject or the habitat they live in.  For instance, if you approach a bird head-on and make a lot of noise, the bird will either fly away or will begin to behave unnaturally, which defies the purpose of observing their behavior in the wild.  In addition, recurring disturbances can cause the birds to leave that area, and they may not return for a very long time after. 

Third, when birding in a group, be mindful of the other members of the group.  For instance, if a person comes running in desperately to try to see the bird that the group is watching, the bird may be frightened and fly off, which does not make for a very happy group.  Fourth, birding is not only about spotting a bird, checking it off on a list, and moving on immediately.  Often, it is the people who stop and watch (hence, birdwatching) who get to see the most remarkable things.  The more you live by these rules, the more likely  you are to not only spot everything you want to see, but also enjoy every minute of it. 

Do not use recordings during breeding season of your target species, as that may disrupt their activities. In many cases, males responding to the calls may leave a nest unnatended and within easy reach of predators. The courting period is more effective and you have less chances of disturbing a nesting bird. If you locate any nesting bird, avoid getting too close, the scent you leave behind may attract predators such as raccons that may prey on the eggs.

Birds have ways to tell you when you're too close, respect these signals. For example a Limpkin will usually raise its heads, become motionless, and if you continue to approach it may call, followed by a quick departure.

 

 

 

Some Basic Rules
  • Avoid stressing the birds
  • Keep the volume down, silence is golden.
  • Do not trespass
  • Be patient, take the time to observe
  • Protect their habitat
  • Be patient with other birders
  • Share your knowledge
  • Be courteus with others
 

115 Lameraux Road ∙ Winter Haven, Florida 33884 (863) 259-8497