Good Birding Practices

The CRCA’s conservation lands and conservation areas provide excellent opportunities for bird watching and nature photography. Many of these properties have been purchased because of their value as a natural habitat.

It can be very exciting to observe and photograph birds, but it’s important to do it in a way that doesn’t disturb them or have an impact on the natural environment.

The good birding practices on this page have been adapted from the American Birding Association’s and the Ontario Field Ornithologists’ Code of Ethics.

The most important thing to remember is that the welfare of the birds must come first. Whether your interest is scientific study, nature photography or bird watching it’s important to take care not to stress the birds or the habitat that they depend on.

  1. Avoid stressing birds or exposing them to danger by being cautious while bird watching, photography, sound recording or filming.
  2. Stay away from nesting and roosting areas and important feeding sites.
  3. Do not use flash photography or other artificial light as this can be extremely disturbing to birds.
  4. Avoid making loud noise, pursuing or getting too close to birds.
  5. Stay on the trails and roads and avoid disturbing the natural habitat. The birds and other wildlife rely on this habitat to survive.

Birding in a group poses its own challenges. Every individual in the group has responsibilities as a group member. If you are a group leader, then you should do the following.

  1. Lead by example. Demonstrate the Code of Ethics to your group members.
  2. Keep groups to a size that minimizes impacts on the environment and on other visitors to the area.
  3. Make sure that everyone in the group knows about and follows the Code of Ethics.
  4. Learn about and inform the group about any special  requirements that apply to the area being visited.