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Welfare of Birds

When birding, please think carefully about the consequences of your actions and the information you pass on. You should ensure you comply with Rule 6 of the Society's Rules and the Birdwatchers Code of Conduct. You must put the welfare of the birds first, and must not reveal the location of potential nest sites of rare birds, other than to the County Recorder. Many species are protected by Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, which makes it a criminal offence to knowingly disturb the species listed in that Schedule without a licence. Some species not listed under that Schedule may still be rare breeding birds - see the Rare Breeding Birds Panel Guidance on the reporting of Rare Breeding Birds.

Some rare birds remain at or near breeding sites throughout the year (for example Goshawk, Peregrine, Barn Owl and Dartford Warbler), so you might mistakenly disclose a breeding site. It is also important to remember that some winter visitors, such as Long-Eared Owl, might suffer disturbance from observers.

Full details of the laws affecting birds and people (including the Wildlife and Countryside Act) are set out in Wild Birds and the Law, published by the RSPB.

Become a Member of Somerset Ornithological Society.