Code of Ethics

Dernière modification: samedi 07-janv.-23 14:13:32 EST Lynda Noel

Code of ethics of the Club des ornithologues de l’Outaouais concerning birdwatchers' behaviour

Birdwatching calls for certain standards of behaviour. Observers must not unduly disturb birds at their nests, must request permisssion before entering private property, and must act like responsible citizens. 

Birdwatching should not interfere with the birds' activities. 

Accordingly, we recommend the following:

  • do not frighten birds needlessly;
  • avoid getting too close to nests or colonies, so as not to upset or stress the birds, or expose them to danger (cold, predators);
    do not handle eggs or chicks;
  • take pictures without disturbing the birds (do not interfere with nest concealment or enter colonies);
  • do not make excessive use of sound recordings or imitations to attract shy birds, and do not use them at all in much-frequented areas;
  • do not let your domestic animal (dog or cat) wander freely without supervision.

Birdwatchers should protect and respect the birds' environment.

Accordingly, we recommend the following:

  • while moving around, do not trample vegetation or disturb the ground (do not pick plants, stay on trails);
  • do not leave any garbage on the site (if you brought it in, you can bring it back); think before leaving paper tissues or other biodegradable waste; they represent a visual form of pollution, at the very least, for other people;
  • be careful about fragile habitats;
  • park your car in suitable places.

Birdwatchers should show respect for other people's property.

Accordingly, we recommend the following:

  • ask for permission (at reasonable hours) before entering private property; obey "No Trespassing" signs and, whenever it is feasible, inform the owners about the richness of the site's bird life;
  • do not block private driveways;
  • be careful to close gates behind you, and do not damage fences;
  • do not disturb grazing cattle;
  • obey all regulations applying to public areas.

Birdwatchers should show respect to other observers.

Accordingly, we recommend the following:

-as an individual,

  • close car doors quietly;
  • do not speak loudly, and keep conversa­tions to a minimum;
  • allow other birders to observe any inter­est­ing birds you've been watching;
  • leave your pet at home;

-as a group leader,

  • tell the group about any regulations or practices applicable to the site being visited;
  • present the clauses of the COO's Code of Ethics to other birdwatchers and practice them in your birding

Birdwatchers should show respect to the other users of the site.

Accordingly, we recommend the following:

  • stay on the side of the trail, bicycle path or road;
  • do not leave any obstacles on the path of traffic (this concerns your personal safety, the safety of other people and of your equipment).

Bird photographers must not interfere with the natural behavior and activities of birds.

For this reason, the following recommendations are made:

-Protection of the bird and its habitat:

  • Study the different aspects of bird behavior and know how to identify the moments when it is preferable not to interfere with their life cycle. For example, avoid disturbing them when it can disrupt nutrition or reproduction;
  • Do not hound a bird with constant pursuit. When it flies away from you, it is because you are disturbing it.
  • Use the proper equipment for bird photography. If the bird shows signs of stress, or if your presence prevents it from going about its normal activities, back away and use a more powerful lens, or give up;
  • Do not use birdcall recordings where other photographers have preceded you or will follow you. At all times, only use recordings with restraint, especially during times of reproduction, or when weather conditions are difficult;
  • Be informed of the degree of fragility of the ecosystem you are visiting. Avoid penetrating delicate sites. Do not approach bird nests and do not damage the vegetation cover around you.

Knowing regulations and laws:

  • When you photograph birds in parks, reserves or interpretation centers, remain in the paths;
  • When applicable, inform management or other authorities of your presence on the site and the object of your visit. Let them know your itinerary;
  • If you are photographing abroad, learn the regional laws and regulations.

Protocol and responsibility:

  • Treat others with courtesy. Ask permission before joining other photographers who are already in the sector;
  • Should you notice incorrect behavior, inform the culprits with tact and courtesy. Many people do things that are harmful to birds without realizing it. Report reprehensible behavior to competent authorities. Do not argue with people who will hear of nothing. Report them.

This code of ethics is based on the code of ethic of QuébecOiseaux and on The ethics in the practice of bird photography

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