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Code for Good Bird Watching

Birdwatching or birding is the observation and study of birds with the naked eye or through a visual enhancement device like binoculars. Birding often involves a significant auditory component, as many bird species are more readily detected and identified by ear than by eye. Most birdwatchers pursue this activity mainly for recreational or social reasons, unlike ornithologists, who engage in the study of birds using more formal scientific methods.

  1. Dress in accordance to the weather and be prepared to be sweaty and even muddy. An umbrella is useful against rain and for sun protection. Bring water, sun block lotion, food, a notebook and wear a cap. Pack these in a small backpack (do not leave in the car!).
  2. Best time for watching is from 5–7 am and from 5-6.30 pm. On light rainy days birds normally are active most of the day.
  3. Wear light clothes of natural colors – preferably khaki, green etc.Keep always your binocular perfectly clean and dry.
  4. At all times make as little noise as possible and talk with low voice or whisper in order not to scare the birds away.
  5. Walk slowly around and make no speedy movements. This may scare the birds. Do not bring dogs with you. Birds are scared of dogs.
  6. If you can hide in the vegetation or stand right next to a tree while observing the birds, you may get the birds closer to you.
  7. If you are a group of bird watchers and in order to give everyone equal chance to see the birds, always stay together in one flock so that no one walks ahead or falls behind.
  8. Do not stay near nests of birds and never take their young or their eggs.
  9. Report illegal wildlife trade to accredited institutions or NGOs like DENR-PAWB (Wildlife) and Haribon-BirdLife.
  10. Report the rare and unusual birds to the Wild Bird Club Records Committee. If you are really keen and do regularly bird watching, always make notes in the field of what species you see, count the numbers of them, note where you see them (their habitats) and note human activities (hunting, land conversion like reclamation, forest or grass fires).
  11. If you don’t know what species it is try to make a simple sketch of it and describe what you see (size like a maya or a wild chicken, form and length of beak, legs, tail, wings, colors and patterns). This may help later to make the final identification.
Courtesy of Arne Jensen 2003
Wild Bird Club of the Philippines

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