WSO Code of Ethics
We, the members of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, believe that all birders have an obligation at all times to protect wildlife, the natural environment, and the rights of others. We pledge ourselves to provide leadership in meeting this obligation by adhering to the following general guidelines of good birding behavior.
1. When birding, we should act in ways that do not endanger the welfare of birds and other wildlife. We should:
- Observe and photograph birds without disturbing them in significant ways.
- Avoid chasing or repeatedly flushing birds.
- Limit use of recordings and similar methods of attracting birds, especially in heavily birded areas or known locations of individual birds.
- Keep an appropriate distance from nests and nesting colonies so as not to disturb them or expose them to danger.
- Refrain from handling birds or eggs unless engaged in recognized research activities.
2. Birders should act in ways that minimize adverse effects to the environment. We should:
- Stay on existing roads, trails, and pathways whenever possible to avoid trampling or otherwise disturbing fragile habitats.
- Leave all habitat in as good a condition as we found it or better.
3. Birders should respect the rights of others. We should:
- Obtain permission to enter private property, whether posted or not.
- Follow posted rules on public and private properties.
- Observe all laws, rules, and regulations for public and private birding areas (including paying applicable fees), and report violations to the appropriate authorities.
- Leave gates and fences as found and rights-of-way unblocked.
- Limit requests for permission or information to reasonable times of the day.
- Behave in a manner that will enhance the image of the WSO and the birding community to others.
- Read Landowners and Birders.
4. Birders in groups have special responsibilities. As group members, we should:
- Act in consideration of the group’s interest as well as our own.
- Support the leader of the group. As group leaders, we should:
- Assume responsibility for the conduct of the group.
- Limit group size so as not to threaten the environment.
- Teach others birding ethics by word and example.
5. Birders recognize the importance of research projects to further our knowledge about birds. We should:
- Encourage field workers to conduct their research in ways that do not endanger the welfare of birds and that minimize adverse effects to the environment.
- Not knowingly interfere with research projects.
This code of ethics was adopted by the WSO Board of Directors January 1996.