Bird Photography must not lead to Bird Disturbance

The advent of digital photography has resulted in many people taking an interest in wildlife through photography.  GONHS welcomes this surge in interest in photographing wildlife and birds in particular.  Any form of enjoyment of the natural environment is positive, so long as it does not prejudice the well-being of wildlife.

The golden rule of responsible wildlife watching is that the animals come first.  Bird photography must be conducted ethically, with the well-being of the birds as the primary consideration.

In recent years, GONHS has grown increasingly concerned at the attention given by photographers to regular perches and nesting sites of some of our nesting birds of prey, especially Peregrine Falcons.  In their eagerness to get better photos, some photographers have got closer to these sites than is safe for these birds.  Such disturbance could cause the birds to abandon their food and nests, even after eggs have been laid.  It is illegal under the Nature Protection Act.

GONHS urges all wildlife photographers to adhere to the law and follow a code of conduct that puts animals first.  A safe distance must always be kept from regular perches and nests, and photographs should be taken from established roads, lookouts or paths.  Anyone who sees behaviour that could result in disturbance should report this to the HMGOG Environmental Protection & Research Unit (EPRU) or the Royal Gibraltar Police.

Finally, GONHS hopes that all lovers of nature are able to enjoy the natural environment this spring, with cameras or without.  When done responsibly, this is of benefit to people and wildlife alike.

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