We ask all atlasers to be mindful of their impact on birds, habitats, and people. Please follow the American Bird Association’s Code of Birding Ethics, available for download and summarized below. If you are a photographer, please also follow the Audubon’s Guide to Ethical Bird Photography. The birds thank you!


Avoid causing unnecessary disturbance to birds.

  • Watch for changes in posture and behavior that indicate the bird is stressed (e.g., standing erect, making alarm calls, freezing in place, crouching). If you notice such changes, back away and consider standing behind a bush or tree to conceal your presence. This will not only help reduce the stress on the birds, but also allow you to better observe breeding behaviors.
  • Don’t approach nests; there is no need to confirm breeding by seeing the actual nest. You can use other behavior codes to confirm nesting.
  • Refrain from using playbacks.


Minimize your impact on habitats.

  • Stay on trails where they exist and avoid trampling sensitive vegetation.
  • Be particularly mindful near nests as trampling can make nests more visible and lead predators to the site.
  • Follow the 7 leave-no-trace principles.


Respect private and public property.

  • Follow laws and regulations and gain permission to access private land.
  • Keep noise to a minimum particularly early in the morning and at night.


In addition to the guidelines provided above, we ask photographers to follow Audubon’s Guide to Ethical Bird Photography.

  • Use a telephoto lens and refrain from using flash.
  • Do not use drones, which are very disruptive to birds.
  • Do not lure birds with bait.
  • Do not move or cut vegetation.
  • At beach locations, do not position yourself between the nest and the water.