Nature Notes
Birding Ethics

Minding our P's and Q's

Birding might be a benign endeavor but it sometimes strays from innocence -- literally. In many cases, when birders do something that irritates or inconveniences non-birders, the birders are often oblivious. In the interest of keeping the peace (and keeping birders welcome wherever they go) New Jersey Audubon Society has drafted a set of rules that birders should adopt as their own.

The Ten Commandments of Birding

 Private property means just that. Your benign intent is not a passport to trespass.

  1. Being quiet is simple courtesy. In residential areas, before 9 a.m., keep voices low, vehicle noises to a minimum.
  2. Never, never, never stop your vehicle in a traffic lane to view birds. Always pull completely onto the shoulder to conduct short-term or long-term viewing. No shoulder? Don't stop.
  3. Be careful not to point optics toward people or houses.
  4. Be courteous and deferential to people engaged in other wildlife-related pursuits.
  5. Park your car only in approved sites. Park tight so that other people have space, too.
  6. Express gratitude to individuals, institutions, and businesses that go out of their way to accommodate your interests or needs.
  7. Patronize businesses that are supporters of NJAS. Let them know support travels both ways.
  8. Wear binoculars everywhere. It is the best way to bring the importance of ecotourism home.
  9. Share your excitement with non-birders. Let them know how important open space is to you and to wildlife.

American Birding Association Code of Ethics