BBC Code of Ethics and Conduct

Adapted from the American Birding Association

The Brookline Bird Club expects that its members and participants practice and promote respectful, enjoyable, and thoughtful birding as defined in this code. BBC members, participants, and event leaders are responsible for upholding the terms of this Code of Ethics & Conduct, as follows:

Promote a positive image of bird watching and the club:

  • Act as an ambassador of the BBC and the birding community.
  • Be an exemplary ethical role model by following this Code and leading by example.
  • Share bird observations, as long as such reporting does not put birds or habitat at risk.
  • Never enter private property without the landowner’s permission. Respect the interests of and interact positively
  • with people living in the area where you are birding.
  • Respect the rules and protocol of public lands.
  • Use courtesy in the use of cell phones and refrain from loud conversation which might disrupt the birding
  • experience of others and/or may be an annoyance for other visitors or neighbors.
  • Always report sightings with honesty and integrity.

Act in ways that do not endanger the welfare of birds and that do not harm the environment and wildlife:

  • Avoid stressing birds or exposing them to danger. Be particularly cautious around active nests and nesting colonies,
  • roosts, display sites, and feeding sites.
  • Limit the use of recordings and other audio methods of attracting birds, particularly in heavily birded areas, for
  • species that are rare in the area, and for species that are nesting, threatened, or endangered.
  • Always exercise caution and restraint when photographing, recording, or otherwise approaching birds. Keep an
  • appropriate distance from birds and nests.
  • Stay on trails and minimize habitat disturbance.

Be respectful and considerate of others:

  • Respect fellow birders of all skill levels.
  • Be considerate of people participating in other outdoor activities.
  • Respect and welcome all participants and fellow birders regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, gender identity, age, disability status, sexual orientation, or political affiliation.

  • Be respectful of differing viewpoints, experiences, and cultures.
  • The BBC does not tolerate behavior that disrespects or threatens the well-being, safety, or rights of others, including verbal, physical, or otherwise inappropriate behaviors, including unwanted in-person or online interaction.

If you experience or observe behavior inconsistent with the BBC Code of Ethics and Conduct at a BBC trip or event, please email

Birding should be fun and help build a better future for birds, for birders, and for all people.

Birds and birding opportunities are shared resources that should be open and accessible to all.

Birders visiting cemeteries should be respectful of other visitors.

Founded in 1831, Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA.