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Thanks to the Wings Over Water Festival for this great information!

The welfare of birds must come first.  Bird-watchers / photographers should have no impact on birds. Respect birds’ territories…keep a reasonable distance.

  • Do not flush birds or try to make them fly.
  • Using recorded calls to attract birds stops them from important activities like feeding. Playback to attract a species during its breeding season is especially harmful.
  • Just use your eyes and binoculars/spotting scopes. Laser pointers, flashlights and spotlights are stressful to birds, as is flash photography.
  • Sit or crouch so that you appear smaller, and keep movements slow and steady.
  • Only handle birds, nests, and eggs for recognized, sanctioned research purposes.
  • Keep dogs on a leash, unless in off-leash areas. Clean up dog waste and keep dogs from chasing birds.
  • It’s unsafe to stop your vehicle in a traffic lane. Always pull completely onto the road shoulder to view birds and if there’s no shoulder, move on. Turn on hazard lights when slowing and/or stopped. Safety first, binoculars second!
  • Respect private property; Ask permission before entering private property.
  • Follow rules and regulations of public areas.
  • Practice common courtesy when interacting with others. Avoid behavior that may distract other birders.
  • Observe in the natural habitat. Don’t move dead branches, brush or tree limbs to see birds more clearly.
  • Use trails to avoid tramping vegetation. Leave nothing behind but footprints.