Interacting with birds

Be a considerate birder. Keep in mind the ethics (and etiquette) of this popular hobby.

Birding expert Melissa Mayntz offers some great tips about the ethics of birding to protect the integrity of the hobby and well-being of the birds:

Observe. Don’t Interact.

Birders should keep an appropriate distance from all species they observe. Disturbing a bird’s feeding area or nesting site can cause unhealthy stress and fear that may drive the bird away.

Hands Off

Birders should never physically touch a bird without extreme cause.

Zero Residual Presence

The best birders may visit favorite bird watching sites frequently, but it is impossible to tell because they do not change the environment of the area.

In the backyard, birders should keep birdhouses and nesting boxes in remote areas where they will not be frequently disturbed by children or pets, yet they will still be visible for observation.

Mum’s the Word

The best action to take when finding a new bird is just to enjoy its presence without shouting it to the world. Sharing the exciting discovery of a new nest, a rare bird species or an unknown birding site, while tempting, can have devastating repercussions on the bird population.

Mind Your Manners

When visiting popular birding locations, share the best views with other birders and avoid any behavior that may disrupt birds or distract other birders. Keep conversation to a minimum, turn off cell phones and avoid using flash photography that may disturb birds or other birders’ viewing devices.

Read Mayntz’s full article on birding ethics for more tips and also check out her story about birding etiquette.