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Guidelines and Etiquette

2023 Festival Safety Protocols 

We look forward to providing attendees with an exciting and educational Festival experience this year. The safety of our attendees, volunteers, and partners is of the utmost importance, just as we look to protect the birds and the land they call home. We want all to feel welcome to be a part of the festival regardless of age, race, ability, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. The Great Salt Lake Bird Festival Committee encourages any and all people to take part in the festival, new and seasoned birders alike. 

In order to keep attendants and birds safe we ask that all participants and guides adhere to the following ABA guidelines:

1. Respect and promote birds and their environment.

(a) Support the conservation of birds and their habitats. Engage in and promote bird-friendly practices whenever possible, such as keeping cats and other domestic animals indoors or controlled, acting to prevent window strikes, maintaining safe feeding stations, landscaping with native plants, drinking shade-grown coffee, and advocating for conservation policies. Be mindful of any negative environmental impacts of your activities, including contributing to climate change. Reduce or offset such impacts as much as you are able.

(b) 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 threatened or endangered. Always exercise caution and restraint when photographing, recording, or otherwise approaching birds.

(c) Always minimize habitat disturbance. Consider the benefits of staying on trails, preserving snags, and similar practices.

 

2. Respect and promote the birding community and its individual members.

(a) Be an exemplary ethical role model by following this Code and leading by example. Always bird and report with honesty and integrity.

(b) Respect the interests, rights, and skill levels of fellow birders, as well as people participating in other outdoor activities. Freely share your knowledge and experience and be especially helpful to beginning birders.

(c) Share bird observations freely, provided such reporting would not violate other sections of this Code, as birders, ornithologists, and conservationists derive considerable benefit from publicly available bird sightings.

(d) Approach instances of perceived unethical birding behavior with sensitivity and respect; try to resolve the matter in a positive manner, keeping in mind that perspectives vary. Use the situation as an opportunity to teach by example and to introduce more people to this Code.

(e) In group birding situations, promote knowledge by everyone in the group of the practices in this Code and ensure that the group does not unduly interfere with others using the same area.

 

3. Respect and promote the law and the rights of others.

(a) 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.

(b) Familiarize yourself with and follow all laws, rules, and regulations governing activities at your birding location. In particular, be aware of regulations related to birds, such as disturbance of protected nesting areas or sensitive habitats, and the use of audio or food lures.

 


 

Health Precautions

The Great Salt Lake Bird Festival cares about the safety of each of the participants and encourages following the local CDC guidelines for COVID-19 and seasonal illnesses. We ask that if you have contracted COVID-19 at the time of the festival to stay home. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.


Protocol for Using Bird Calling Apps


National Audubon Society, “Apps that play birdsong can be a terrific tool for birders and bird photographers—as long as they’re used responsibly.”


Do’s and Don’ts of using Playback Recordings while birding captured and paraphrased from National Audubon.


DON’T

  • Walk around continuously and loudly broadcasting sound.
  • Check before you play. Playback is prohibited in many parks and refuges. Know the rules and respect them.
  • Avoid playback in areas with a lot of birding pressure to avoid further disturbing birds.
  • Do not disturb or distract during mating season.
  • Do not randomly play recordings of known predator birds such as hawks and Great Horned Owls.

DO’S

  • Be in or near a location for the bird’s territory where you play the audio.
  • Play where a bird has a comfortable approach, opening, and prominent place to perch to come in view.
  • Ask if fellow birders object to using the playback. Announce that you are about to start the playback so other birders can see the source of the sound.
  • Play the recording quietly for a few seconds. Stop, watch, and listen.
  • Try short snippets of song to tease the bird into the open without posing a serious challenge to their territory or self-esteem. If no response after 30-60 seconds, play another 15-30 seconds of sound. Do not keep this up longer than five minutes.

Adapted from “The Proper Use of Playback in Birding,” by David Allen Sibley.


 

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