Code of Conduct for Birdwatching and Bird Photography
The objective of HKBWS is to promote the study, appreciation and conservation of birds in Hong Kong. In addition, the Society also facilitates the exchange of experience and information related to birdwatching. In recent years, more and more people in Hong Kong become interested in birdwatching and bird photography. Since birds are sensitive to disturbance, special care is required to avoid bringing disturbance to their lives. In order to provide a model for good practices in birdwatching and bird photography, the Society’s Executive Committee has drawn up the following code. It is intended to be a reference and guide to both HKBWS members and the general public.
1. The Welfare of Birds Comes First
Birdwatching and bird photography should be carried out with minimum interference to the birds. Disturbance must be avoided as far as possible.
a. Stop if the birds appear disturbed, begin to move away or exhibit other abnormal reaction
b. Exercise additional precautions when the activity is undertaken with a large group of people
c. Do not attempt to influence the behaviour of birds, e.g. by flushing, chasing or baiting
d. Use flash only sparingly
e. Do not damage the natural environment
2. Protect Sensitive Sites
Sites such as nests, seabird colonies and the roost of rarities are particularly vulnerable. Take extra care to minimize disturbance.
a. Keep a suitable distance to avoid stressing the birds
b. Do not land on islands with breeding colonies
c. Do not disturb nests and their surrounding vegetation, or the nest could be abandoned or become exposed to predators
d. Share information about the sites with discretion and do not reveal it casually in public. Explain clearly to those who may not understand the Code, to avoid bringing disturbance to the site
e. Beware that your actions may attract unwanted attention and hence disturbance to the site
3. Report Disturbances
If you find people disturbing or causing harm to birds, advise against the act when it is safe to do so. If they cannot be stopped, take photos and report to the AFCD as soon as possible. Post a report at the Society’s online Forum.
4. Respect Others
a. Share the fun – avoid disturbing other birdwatchers or photographers on site.
b. Take care not to damage facilities or crops at the site.