In almost every book or video you find about owling, they are going to say don’t publicly share an owl’s location. When someone is searching for an owl and they receive this response from another person, it can be quite disappointing. I have three pieces of birding etiquette to share; but remember, this is just my opinion, you can always make up your own too!
Follow posted, written, and your own rules. In most cases rules are made to protect wildlife and plants. Sadly, most rules are ignored. One really common rule is keep your dog on a leash. In most places this is an important rule in the summer because many birds such as sparrows, grouse, and meadowlarks nest on the ground. If the dog is not on a leash it could trample eggs and young.
Be respectful of both people and birds. Something I struggle with is following the rule of not sharing an owl’s location and still being nice. Respecting the people and birds is important to me because I want to share the experience with others, but if too many people start watching the owl it might get stressed out and fly away. When I see an owl, I follow our #1 rule, never, ever disturb the creature. This includes not getting too close on purpose, staying as quiet as possible, and not moving around really quickly but not appearing as if you’re stalking it. How do you balance wanting to share your excitement but also making sure the owls aren’t disturbed?
Pay attention to birders and non-birders alike. When we go birding, I do my best to tell people about the birds we saw. I let people know about birds because that is what I would like people to do with me. When I started birding, many people were very helpful and encouraging. Recently I met a birder and bird photographer named Marla. It was our 2nd trip to Maclays Flat trying to find the barred owl and we had just started walking the trail when we ran into someone who also happened to be looking for the Barred Owl. We talked for a bit and she asked me questions about my camera. Later that day Papa and I sat down and read the message that Marla had sent. She asked if I would like to borrow one of her cameras. I said yes please. We met her again on our 9th try to find the barred owl. On our way back we talked about the camera because she had it in her car. She also gave me a photography book to borrow. I read it every chance I get.
One time when we were at Maclays Flat, we saw a pygmy owl. Since I had spotted it I was in charge of telling people about it. We met a little kid who believed it might be a saber-toothed tiger. No matter who they are, remember to look people in the eye.
These rules are important because 1 they help me be a better person 2 they’re a way to help me remember what I should and shouldn’t do and 3 these rules help birds not be disturbed and still be watched.
4 thoughts on “Birding Etiquette”
You are awesome.. love you lots
Wonderful tips for folks. Hug to all of you
Great article. I enjoy how you explain the rules, for they are meant to protect both the birds and people. It’s also nice to see your growth with these articles over the years
Thank you for all the great advice. So proud of you. Love you lots.