Birding Etiquette

Chickadee landing on hand of Conservation Halton staff in winter

The primary concern of every birder should be the welfare of the birds and protection of their habitat so we have provided a few tips on birding etiquette.

Chickadee landing on hand of Conservation Halton staff in winter

Did you know that:

  • You should keep your distance from birds and nests as many species will abandon their nest if disturbed while sitting on eggs.
  • That if you talk softly, or better yet not at all, more bird noise will be heard. If birds are hiding they have a good reason for doing so. They may be scared, hurt or even sitting on a nest. Don’t flush birds out for a better view or chase flightless waterfowl during the moulting season.  Heavy use of recordings by birdwatchers can substantially reduce breeding success.

Be a respectful birder:

  • Keep to paths and roadways and never cross growing crops. Leave all gates exactly as you found them and do not damage fences.
  • Don’t drop cigarette butts or other litter. What you bring in you must take out.
  • Stay off private land unless you have permission to be there.

Photography Tips

  • Many birds can be photographed safely from a distance by using a telephoto lens (400 mm or more) or spotting scope.
  • If the birds become jittery, you’re too close. Retreat immediately. Avoid using a flash around owls.

Birding Tools

  • Binoculars (7-10 magnification), telescope, camera, bird checklist and field guide (Local birders use Peterson Guide to Birds of Eastern North America, National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America or Sibley Guide to Birds of Eastern North America).
  • Wear proper footwear and dress for the weather.  Burlington has a number of stores that can fit you with attire.  Check out the shopping section.