Refresher on Birding Ethics
by John Shenot
My passion for birding frequently gets me out of the house and into northern Colorado’s most beautiful places. In the field, I encounter other nature lovers on a regular basis. Sharing tips and chatting with acquaintances (old and new) is often the highlight of my day. But, if you get out there often enough, you sometimes see people—even, gasp(!), fellow birders&mdah;doing things they probably shouldn’t. So, let’s start the new year with a refresher on birding ethics. The American Birding Association offers a comprehensive Code of Ethics at http://listing.aba.org/ethics/. I’m going to excerpt (verbatim) some of the most crucial points:
- To avoid stressing birds or exposing them to danger, exercise restraint and caution during observation, photography, sound recording, or filming. Limit the use of recordings and other methods of attracting birds, and never use such methods in heavily birded areas or for attracting any species that is threatened, endangered, of special concern, or is rare in your local area. Use artificial light sparingly for filming or photography, especially for close-ups.
- Keep well back from nests and nesting colonies, roosts, display areas, and important feeding sites.
- Before advertising the presence of a rare bird, evaluate the potential for disturbance to the bird, its surroundings, and other people in the area, and proceed only if access can be controlled, disturbance minimized, and permission has been obtained from private landowners. The sites of rare nesting birds should be divulged only to the proper conservation authorities.
- Stay on roads, trails, and paths where they exist; otherwise, keep habitat disturbance to a minimum. Do not enter private property without the owner’s explicit permission.
- Follow all laws, rules, and regulations governing use of roads and public areas.
- Respect the interests, rights, and skills of fellow birders, as well as people participating in other legitimate outdoor activities.
- If you witness unethical birding behavior, assess the situation and intervene if you think it prudent.
Find FCAS on Facebook for Field Trip Information
FCAS has a Facebook page where we post announcements about upcoming field trips, last minute changes to scheduled trips, and high-lights of most of our outings. Just click on the “Like" button in the plugin to Like our page! Our announcements should then appear on your wall. You can also click on "Fort Collins Audubon Society" to be taken directly to the Facebook page. Note: All field trips are also announced in the Ptarmigan and on our website.