It’s important that all birders be ethical birders

We believe all birders should act as ethical birders. Your personal year list or that special photograph puts the bird at risk or cause its nest to fail. Because we expect all birders to act ethically around the birds that bring them joy, we expect that of the birders who are on our list as well.

We follow the American Birding Association Code of Birding Ethics; we expect all birders to follow it as well.

We encourage everyone to read their code, but want to call out a few key aspects of the code here so everyone will understand their importance to us. We consider these crucial aspects of the code, and members of South Bay Birds that are found violating them may be lose access to the list and other members.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Do not enter private property without the owner’s explicit permission.
  • Practice common courtesy in contacts with other people.

For photographers we want to suggest a few more items:

  • If you change a bird’s behavior or you see it staring at you, you’re too close. Stop, and slowly back away from the bird.
  • Be careful when photographing around nests. Do not ever photograph them with wide angle lenses or a phone camera, those require you to get too close to the nest and you will stress the bird.
  • Never use a drone near a nest.

    Never use live bait, lures, or bait decoys to attract Raptors or Owls.

Resources on Ethical Birding

Here are some resources on what ethical birding is and how birders should behave to keep the welfare of the birds that bring us joy the most important aspect of being a birder.