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Adapted from the birdwatcher code of conduct edited by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

  • Welfare of birds must come first. Whether your particular interest is photography, ringing, sound recording, scientific study or just birdwatching, remember that the welfare of the bird must always come first.

  • Habitat protection. Its habitat is vital to a bird and therefore we must ensure that our activities do not cause damage. 

  • Keep disturbance to a minimum. Birds' tolerance of disturbance varies between species and seasons. Therefore, it is safer to keep all disturbance to a minimum. No birds should be disturbed from the nest in case opportunities for predators to take eggs or young are increased. In very cold weather disturbance to birds may cause them to use vital energy at a time when food is difficult to find. Wildfowlers already impose bans during cold weather: birdwatchers should exercise similar discretion.

  • Rare breeding birds. If you discover a rare bird breeding and feel that protection is necessary, inform us. Otherwise it is best in almost all circumstances to keep the record strictly secret in order to avoid disturbance by other birdwatchers and attacks by egg-collectors. Never visit known sites of rare breeding birds unless they are adequately protected. Even presence may give away the site to others and cause so many other visitors that the birds may fail to breed successfully. 

  • Rare migrants. Rare migrants or vagrants must not be harassed. If you discover one, consider the circumstances carefully before telling anyone. Will an influx of birdwatchers disturb the bird or others in the area? Will the habitat be damaged? Will problems be caused with the landowner? As birdwatchers we must abide by them at all times and not allow them to fall into disrepute.

  • Respect the rights of landowners. The wishes of landowners and occupiers of land must be respected. Do not enter land without permission. Comply with permit schemes. If you are leading a group, do give advance notice of the visit, even if a formal permit scheme is not in operation.

  • Respect the rights of other people. Have proper consideration for other birdwatchers. Try not to disrupt their activities or scare the birds they are watching. There are many other people who also use the countryside. Do not interfere with their activities and, if it seems that what they are doing is causing unnecessary disturbance to birds, do try to take a balanced view. Flushing gulls when walking a dog on a beach may do little harm, while the same dog might be a serious disturbance at a tern colony. When pointing this out to a non-birdwatcher be courteous, but firm. The non-birdwatchers' goodwill towards birds must not be destroyed by the attitudes of birdwatchers. 

  • Keeping records. Much of today's knowledge about birds is the result of meticulous record keeping by our predecessors. Make sure you help to add to tomorrow's knowledge by sending records to our website.

  • Birdwatching abroad. Behave abroad as you would at home.

 
Biolovision Sàrl (Switzerland), 2003-2019