Code of Ethics

Boxborough Birders Code of Conduct and Birding Ethics

Boxborough Birders is a birding group which is committed to creating an inclusive and safe community through the actions of our members (Steering Committee members, trip leaders, and group members) during in-person events, online interactions, and in communications. The following code of conduct outlines our expectations for group members.

This code of conduct and birding ethics will be reviewed annually with input from all members of the Boxborough Birders community. If you have ideas for changes or improvements to it, or have any concerns, please contact the Boxborough Birders Steering Committee.

In general:

  • Be kind and welcoming to new members.
  • Be respectful of differing identities, viewpoints, experiences, and cultures.
  • Group members come from various backgrounds, have different levels of experience with and knowledge of the outdoors, birds, and birding. This group believes these differences are our strength.
  • Be willing to learn from others in the group.
  • Be willing to share your knowledge with others in the group.
  • If something makes you feel uncomfortable, please share your feedback with the walk leader or the Boxborough Birders Steering Committee (contact information below).

Boxborough Birders on walks/trips and at events:

  • Respect the personal space of participants.
  • At Boxborough Birders bird walks/events:
    • Stay with the group.
    • Follow instructions from the walk/trip leader.
  • Respect rules for the location you are birding (e.g., wildlife sanctuary, private property boundaries). The rules will be shared before or at the beginning of bird walks/events.
  • Adhere to the American Birding Association (ABA) Code of Birding Ethics:
    • Keep a respectable distance from birds when trying to see/photograph them.
    • Do not disturb breeding birds; for example, do not closely approach nests.
    • Do not use playback to see breeding birds.
    • Do not damage habitat in your efforts to see birds.
    • Do not trespass on private property in efforts to see birds.
    • Practice awareness of yourself and other people (including non-birders) in the field.

Unacceptable behavior:

  • Bullying, trolling, insulting/derogatory comments, and personal attacks.
  • Public or private harassment, including offensive or degrading language, sending inappropriate images, or unwanted messages.
  • Exhibiting racism, sexism, ableism, classism, sizeism, homophobia, or xenophobia.
  • Making fun of others for not knowing as much about birds or birding.
  • Intentionally excluding certain members from conversations, birds, and events.

If you have suggestions or feedback about an event or walk attended in the context of these guidelines, please contact the walk leader or send an email to, which goes to the Steering Committee.

Birding should be fun and help build a better future for birds, for birders, and for all people.
Birds and birding opportunities are shared resources that should be open and accessible to all.
Birders should always give back more than they take (from the ABA Code of Ethics).

Thank you for working to keep the Boxborough Birders community safe and welcoming.