A Bird Watcher's Code


When you go bird watching, even in your own yard, you are interacting with nature. It is common sense but here is a code to follow to ensure the welfare of the birds you are watching and the habitat they are in as well as the rights of those birdwatching with you and the general public.

  • The welfare of the birds in paramount. Do not harrass and disturb them or expose them to danger. If a bird flies away or makes repeated alarm calls, leave it be.
  • Limit the use of techniques to attract birds and only use techniques such as call playback (playing of bird calls) under the guide of a researcher or experienced bird watcher for a specific purpose. These techniques divert a bird's attention from feeding, protecting its territory and going about other normal behaviours. Never use call playback during a bird's breeding season.
  • Always keep your distance from breeding birds and their nests. If you come across a nest accidently, leave the area as quickly as possible. Take particular care when birds are constructing their nest and during the first few days of incubation (as this is when they are most likely to abandon) and also when the young are close to fledgling as disturbance may result in them leaving the nest prematurely.
  • Do not handle birds or eggs without appropriate licences. The exception to this is if you need to get a sick or injured bird into care. If this is necessary, do not keep the bird for longer than is necessary to get it to appropriate authorities (wildlife carers or vets) and ensure it is kept quiet and dark to minimise stress.
  • Notify authoritive organisations such as Birds Australia and the appropriate conservation authorities if you observe a rare bird but otherwise keep its location secret to ensure the potential for disturbance is minimised.
  • Support the protection of important bird habitats.
  • Stay on roads, trails, and paths where they exist; otherwise keep habitat disturbance to a minimum.
  • Do not enter private land without express permission.
  • Obey all local, state and federal laws applicable to the location you are in.
  • Respect the interests and rights of fellow bird watchers as well as members of the general public who are taking part in outdoor activities.  Your exemplary behaviour will generate goodwill with birders and non-birders alike. Respond positively to questions from passers-by and take it as an opportunity to educate and pass on your enthusiasm for birds - be an Ambassador.


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