A Simplified Birdwatcher’s Code of Conduct

  • The welfare of birds must always come first.
  • Do not damage habitat.
  • Keep disturbance to a minimum.
  • Never disturb birds at the nest.
  • Keeps sites of rare breeding species confidential. If you feel protection is necessary, inform the SOS; we have close co-operation with the RSPB Regional Office.
  • Do not harass rare migrants. Consider all the circumstances very carefully before making the sighting known. If necessary keep the sighting secret until the bird has moved on.
  • Abide by the legal requirements of the Wildlife & Countryside Act and other legislation at all times.
  • Respect the rights of landowners.
  • Obey the Countryside Code.
  • Respect the rights of other birdwatchers and other countryside users.
  • Keep records of important sightings and make sure the SOS receives them through BirdTrack or the County Bird Recorder.
  • When bird watching abroad, behave as you would expect to behave in Britain.

Wildlife photographers have a particular responsibility towards their subjects, particularly when working close to nests.  For more on this, see the following statement from the Nature Group of the Royal Photographic Society.

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Page updated: 24/02/2021