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Birding/Photography Etiquette reminder

January 2018

First of all, this is YOUR Bog! It is not our Bog. And we all want to have a pleasant experience here.

The majority of the Sax-Zim Bog is public land (County, State, etc) with many private lands as well. Friends of Sax-Zim Bog only owns and manages 383 acres on six tracts.

We are NOT the police of the Bog. Everyone must take responsibility for their own behavior. Much of this is just common sense and common courtesy.


  • Use common sense to not unduly disturb wildlife.
  • Winter is a tough time for all critters, so avoid interrupting their survival strategies. All wildlife needs food (calories) and rest. (e.g. don’t repeatedly disturb a critter as it tries to hunt and get calories; don’t throw things at a critter so it looks at you or flies; do not tease owls with fur on a a string or a mouse in a cage…the owl spends energy with no caloric reward; avoid disturbing roosting nocturnal species which are sleeping)
  • Contribute bird seed, peanut butter, suet to the public feeder on Admiral Road (this is YOUR feeder…nobody manages this feeding station)
  • Speeding after fleeing wildlife in your car is a bad idea. The critter is expending valuable calories by running at top speed.


  • Watch your rear view mirror when driving the roads…Please pull over so others going faster can safely pass.
  • When you do stop to observe or photograph wildlife, etc, please pull over to the side of the road (But be careful in winter that you don’t pull over too far and get stuck in the ditch!)
  • Do not pull over and park across from another parked vehicle. The space between the two cars is usually too narrow for other traffic to get through at normal speeds.
  • Avoid pointing binoculars and scopes and cameras at any dwelling. How would you like it if you looked out your picture window in the morning and saw folks staring at you?
  • Private property is private property. Do not step on any land unless you know it is public land.


  • Respect other visitors and locals.
  • If someone is already watching/photographing an owl or other wildlife, stay back…stay behind them and remain quiet. They were there first. Or ask if you can join them.
  • Keep voices low when a group is watching/photographing a bird or mammal.
  • Turn off your car engine when observing wildlife or feeders at close range.
  • Don’t walk in front of those watching/photographing wildlife.

Let’s all use common sense and common courtesy and have a good time out there! The Sax-Zim Bog is a wonderful place full of amazing “bogdiversity” that is ours to discover and enjoy.

Here are some other links to Ethics Statements on wildlife/bird viewing/photography from other conservation groups:

North American Nature Photography Association

American Birding Association Code of Birding Ethics

Audubon’s Guide to Ethical Bird Photography

Wildlife Viewing Guidelines Yellowstone National Park