Observing wildlife can be one
of life's richest pastimes.
It is an experience available
to everyone in every place,
including our urban environment.
Knowing how to find and safely
coupled with a respect for the
are the most important objectives
of the wildlife watcher.
Take the advice offered below
and enjoy your adventures with wildlife.
Above all, remember
that NO observation or photograph
is worth endangering an
animal or yourself
No matter how much you know about your camera,
it means nothing if you don't know your subject
what you and your equipment can safely and realistically do.
Learn as much as you can about the
species, habitat, and family groups of the wildlife you wish to observe
Learn the behavior of your subject,
and be aware that some species and some individual animals are more accustomed
to humans than others.
Information is available through
many sources, including libraries, state wildlife agencies, classes, public
television, and publications.
and anticipate your needs.
Learn the limitations of your equipment
and how to use it, whether it's a camera and lens, binoculars, or spotting
Specialized camera lenses may be
necessary for some photographs. Many professional images are made
with long and fast telephoto lenses, and it may not be safe or sensible
to try for some photos with less equipment.
Learn from the experts how to get
the photos you want. Experienced photographers who are capable teachers
can help you avoid mistakes and brief you on tools of their trade.
Inquire in advance about opportunities
and restrictions of areas to visit. State and national parks, for instance,
often have regulations about interacting with wildlife.
Practice using specialized equipment
or techniques. Zoos are excellent places to see what your equipment
Know the rules and regulations
of the public areas you visit
rights and wishes of landowners.
Take the initiative
to set a good example.
violations you see to the proper authorities.
environment - protect it!
permission before entering private property.
fences, and buildings as if they were your own.
wildlife or its environment for the sake of a photograph or for viewing.
Be aware of
the cumulative effect of human presence. One person observing an
animal may be tolerated, but four might be too many.
undue attention to animals and plants. Others may not be as aware
for your pets, children, and companions. It is best to leave your
dog at home, regardless of how well-mannered it is. Wildlife will
feel threatened, regardless.
- carry a small bag for your trash and pick up litter you find.
or destruction of vegetation.
calls, lures, or bait to the detriment or danger of your subject.
Bait and lures may be controlled by legal statute.
natural food which meet their nutritional needs; you should not feed them.
Bird feeders can be used in an urban environment, but if feeding in winter,
make sure to continue through spring.
Making wildlife react to you can cause it stress.
Nature is fragile, so
be aware of your impact
Allow animals to carry on their
lives without disruption.
Stress in animals is not easily
recognized. Learn the warning signs.
Respect an animal's "comfort zone".
Gauge the length of time spent near
an animal and leave if you are causing stress.
Never chase or harass even the most
Don't disturb nests or dens.
Keep groups small and reduce excess
Take care not to endanger yourself,
your companions or the wildlife you see. Wild animals are wild, even
if they have lost their fear of humans. They are not predictable.
Your knowledge, concern,
and example can benefit others.
When you share freely
and openly, it costs you nothing,
but can be of great
the outdoors with others, respect their right to enjoy the things you enjoy.