Keep Safe Bird Watching
Although bird watching is a relatively safe hobby there is still a risk of accident or injury. These tips will help you keep safe when out in the field so that you can get the maximum enjoyment from bird watching.
Before you go out bird watching check local weather forecasts and don’t go if there are warnings of severe weather. Make sure you know how previous conditions could have affected where you plan to go bird watching such as ice left from heavy snowfall.
Take suitable clothes with you including extra layers incase the weather turns cold and ensure your shoes or boots are suitable for hiking or climbing if necessary.
Pack a small first aid kit and carry some emergency cash and food, ensure your mobile phone is charged and take any medications you might need. In the summer always wear protective sunscreen; even on seemingly overcast days it is still possible to get burnt. You can find further advice in what to pack in your field bag.
Familiarise yourself with the local area before you go by studying maps or using online resources and always tell someone before you go out bird watching and what time you plan to be back so they can raise the alarm if you aren’t back in good time.
Ideally don’t go out bird watching on your own. If you don’t have a friend to go with there will be many local groups in your area that you may like to join.
When you arrive at your bird watching destination check in at a visitor centre if there is one. Staff at the visitor centre will be able advise you if there are any extra precautions you need to take.
Stay on marked footpaths and obey all notices and signs for privacy and trespassing as well as those that warn of dangerous conditions.
Follow The Bird Watchers’ Code which also has lots of useful advice on respecting the countryside and the laws surrounding wild birds.
Be sure you to know your limits of endurance and don’t tackle conditions that you can’t manage. If you have any known health problems advice your doctor if you plan on going on very long hikes.
When you return from your bird watching trip check for any insect bites, sunburn and scratches and treat where necessary. Check your field bag and clothes for any thorns or insects that may have attached themselves to you. Have a good rest so that you are refreshed for your next bird watching trip.