From time to time, we all need a reminder about proper birding etiquette. There are numerous cases where poor behavior has cost birders access to some fine birding areas.
We all need to be very cautious about taking other people, especially large groups, into areas that are not public property and not really open to public recreation. These places include golf courses, waste water treatment plants, condominium communities with common areas, farm fields, orchards, etc. While such places may tolerate small groups of well-behaved birders, they will not endure large unruly groups or even small groups of ill-behaved birders. Access to such places can be denied at any time.
Obviously, when there is an unusual bird in the state, we all want to hear about it and observe it. However, we must make certain that our conduct is above reproach.
Behavior by excited birders “anxious” to get a closer look or better photograph can disturb not only the birds but also the other birders watching nearby. At least one observer of the great gray owl in Rochester last winter was very upset by the behavior of other birders. He felt they were harassing the bird by chasing it to get a closer look. He questioned the ethics of even reporting such a sighting to the general birding community if it could harm the bird.
Read our article about Snowy Owl Viewing and Photography Ethics.