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The New Mexico Breeding Bird Atlas Project

Atlas Handbook


Ethical Atlasing
(Adapted from the New Jersey, Colorado, and Arizona Breeding Bird Atlas Handbooks)

Ethic 1: Thoughtfulness Towards Bird

  1. Be quiet and unobtrusive. Try to observe the birds so they are unaware of your presence, thus providing an opportunity to observe their normal behaviors. Avoid quick movements, discordant noises, running, continuous chasing of game birds, excessive "pishing", throwing things, and thrashing about. A quiet observer often sees and hears more.

  2. Approaching a nest too closely or repeated flushing may cause abandonment of the eggs (especially early in incubation) or young, as well as exposing the nest to an increased chance of predation. Human odor and tracks may lead predators to the nest. Do not handle the young or eggs.

  3. Avoid "tree-whacking" to arouse cavity dwellers. Undue disturbance may lead to abandonment of nest cavities.

  4. Use tape recorders with restraint. Excessive use of tape recorders will disturb breeding birds.
2: Thoughtfulness Towards Habitat
  1. Avoid trampling fragile habitats, especially marshes, grasslands, wild flowers, and tangles. Damage to the habitat affects all species in the ecosystem.

  2. Carry out your litter, including cigarette butts.

  3. Keep motor vehicles on established roads and parking areas. One set of tracks invites others. In fragile ecosystems, tracks may last for decades and severely degrade the habitat value.

  4. Be extremely careful with fire. Avoid smoking while walking, press out cigarettes on rocks or mineral soil. Carry butts with you, or best, do not smoke.

  5. Use discretion in divulging information on nests of rare or endangered birds, especially in fragile habitats.
3. Thoughtfulness Towards People
  1. Obtain permission to enter private and state lands and where necessary, federal government lands. Respect an owner's privacy and property. Do not block right-of-ways; leave gates as you find them, or as the landowner has asked you to leave them. Do not carry firearms.

  2. When birding at a private home, be considerate of your host's time, property, and privacy.

  3. Behave in ways that reflect favorably on the organizations and colleagues that you represent.

  4. Answer questions about your activities and volunteer the information courteously and respectfully.

Previous Section -- Appendix B: Population Trends for New Mexico
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