Recording, or biological data collecting is, for many of us, an enjoyable part of our lives, and the resulting data has many important uses for science, conservation, planning, and informing the development of policies and legislation.
However, if recording is not carried out responsibly, your presence and activities can have a serious, negative impact on the environment and the wildlife you are interested in. You should also consider the needs of landowners, farmers, livestock, and other people who visit, live and work in the countryside.
Knowledge and implementation of the information below will enable all recorders, novice and expert, to act responsibly and as ambassadors of good practice to others.
These policies and codes have been developed and based on sound research and experience over many years. As a photographer or birder how many times have you tried to get the perfect shot, or confirmed identification, by getting too close to your subject? Such disturbance can often affect breeding success, or finding enough food to survive the night. It might cause tired migrants to move on to less suitable habitats when they need to shelter, rest or feed.
Codes of Practise
All users of the countryside:
– Countryside Code
– Bird Watchers’ Code (BTO, .PDF)
– Photography and the Law (RSPB, .PDF)
– Collecting, breeding and photography (Butterfly Conservation, .PDF)
Advice for Dog Walkers
Dog disturbance has been researched and scientifically proven to cause breeding failure and desertion by wildlife of otherwise suitable habitat. Roosting waders have been shown to be critically affected by dog walkers as they are constantly moved on along the beach. Cumulative minor disturbances have been proven to be more detrimental than single large events, and as the population increases and suitable habitat is lost these pressures are compounded.
Rare Breeding Birds
If you discover a rare bird, particularly a breeding species, think carefully about who you inform. Large numbers of visitors wanting to see the unusual sight might cause breeding failure or criminals may steal eggs or young.
Health and Safety
When venturing out make sure you are fit enough for your chosen activity: tiredness causes poor decision making. Make sure you are properly equipped and know how to use it. The weather in Cumbria can change very quickly: make sure you have clothing for all likely eventualities. Make sure you can navigate ,and don’t rely on electronic navaids such as GPS and smartphones which are prone to failure. A map and compass is far more reliable. Be tick aware!
Know the Law
Rare species and those particularly prone to disturbance are protected by wildlife legislation. Make sure you know the law with regard to your target area or species before you leave home.