Be Bird and Animal Friendly!!!
The goal of a wildlife viewer is to watch wildlife without bothering their normal activities.
- Be early, quiet, and patient. Not much else you do will enhance your opportunity to see and hear wildlife more.
- Remember that wild animals do their best to remain hidden. You may need to wait a while to see some wildlife species.
- Moving slowly and quietly will allow you to see wildlife displays you'll miss otherwise.
- Getting there before dawn is often necessary, but don't forget dusk too. Most animals are more active at twilight and dusk than in the middle of the day. When visiting an area, allow plenty of time. Don't rush from one site to the next.
- Check with wildlife agencies for help. Stop at the nearest area office or interpretive center to pick up brochures, maps, and wildlife checklists. Ask about any recent wildlife sightings, conditions, etc. Check with local and regional conservation groups for wildlife-viewing areas and tips.
- Use field guides to help identify your discoveries. They cover most options (animal ID, droppings, nests, eggs, holes, etc.) and can be found at many bookstores or online.
- Explore all the roads, trails, and habitats. Seldom are all of an area's interesting features clustered around the main entry road or trailheads.
- Drive or hike slowly, stop often, shut off your engine if you’re driving a route and listen and look more carefully.
- Use binoculars and spotting scopes to view wildlife from a distance that will not disturb them.
- Film and photograph wildlife responsibly. Use a telephoto lens to photograph from a distance.
- Learn to interpret animal signs. Tracks, trails, nests, dens, droppings, and partially eaten plants are among the many clues to what animals may live in the area.
- Pay close attention to "edge", the area where different habitat types meet.
- After animals are spotted, don't alarm them. Talk quietly; move slowly and never directly toward an animal.
- Try to stay downwind of mammals.
- If the animal is looking directly at you and appears alert and nervous, remain motionless or move slowly away until normal behavior returns. Learn to heed other wildlife behavior that tells you they know you are there and you are too close.
- Stay away from animals that behave strangely or appear sickly.
- Leave pets at home. Nothing will scare animals away more quickly than a dog. Many wild animals can harm pets.
- Allow animals to eat their natural foods - don’t feed them.