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Ethical Birding

Keep the welfare of wildlife first

Bird watching

Bird watchers can adopt simple birding ethics to avoid disturbing birds, people, and the natural environment. Here are some simple rules, mostly common sense, that birders should keep in mind while looking for feathered friends. Have fun filling your notebook with new species, but don't let your enthusiasm get in the way of basic birding etiquette.

  • Keep well back, especially from nests and nesting colonies, roosts, display areas, and important feeding sites.
  • To avoid stressing birds or exposing them to danger, exercise restraint and caution during observation, photography, sound recording, or filming.
  • Disturbing or harassing federally threatened or endangered species, such as the piping plover, is against the law. This is especially critical in nesting areas. Please observe and enjoy these birds from a distance. Don't attract these species with recordings.
  • Respect private property. Don't enter private property without permission.
  • Stay on roads, trails, and paths where they exist.
  • Don't walk through prairie dog towns.
  • When bird watching from a road, pull safely to the side or use a gate to approach when you stop. Make sure hills and curves don't hide you from behind.
  • Be courteous to other recreationists.
  • Follow regulations for public lands, including leash rules for dogs.
  • Dispose of waste properly.
  • Leave what you find so others can enjoy it.
  • If you camp, use established firerings or a lightweight stove for cooking.