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Audubon at Home > Bird Watching > Studying the Basics: Birding Etiquette >

Studying the Basics: Birding Etiquette

Armed with knowledge and enthusiasm, you are now ready to head into the field and fill your notebook with dozens of new species. But donít let your eagerness get in the way of basic birding etiquette.

© Steven Saffier

© Kim Phillips

© Steven Saffier
  • Bear in mind that in order to find most birds you will be encroaching on their territory, so tread lightly and respect boundaries.

  • Silence is golden. The keen senses of birds alert them to your presence, often long before you have a chance to see them. Whether alone or in a group, walk as quietly as possible and whisper. Take cues from the leader who might signal for quiet as the group approaches a bird. Quiet walks will also help when listening for bird calls.

  • Take extra care when in a potential or active nesting area. It is hard enough for birds to compete with each other for mates and space; human interference causes additional stress.

  • Make sure you are not trespassing on private property. Some bird sanctuaries are located on someoneís land, whose owners may not enjoy strangers with binoculars trekking around their backyard. Make sure you have the permission to bird beforehand.

  • Donít be a peeping Tom! Avoid pointing your binoculars at other people or their homes.

  • While some birders prefer solitude, others bird in groups and enjoy sharing their findings. If you are new to birding, donít be shy; there is sure to be a more knowledgeable birder in the group willing to pass on tips and sightings.

  • And most important, enjoy yourself! Donít be too concerned about finding that rare bird, or spotting more species than last month. Birding is meant to be informative, but also fun.

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