Outdoor Access guidance for Birdwatchers

Shetland is a fantastic place for birdwatching, with seabird and waders in the summer and rare birds passing through in the spring and autumn. With a little awareness you can enjoy your interest without any upset.

Shetland Bird Club and Nature in Shetland  have produced a 'Birding Code of Conduct' to encourage responsible birding and help you have a trouble free and enjoyable visit to the Isles.

Shetland residents are generally very welcoming, happy to chat, and interested in wildlife, but occasionally problems occur when crowds gather to watch a rarity, or spend a long time in one location.

Please familiarise yourself with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and enjoy the countryside in a respectful and responsible manner.

Here are some tips to help your birding go smoothly.

Around gardens:

  • Be polite and speak with any residents you see,and avoid giving the impression you may be looking into windows.
  • Never enter a garden without permission.
  • If you are asked to leave an area adjacent to a garden please do so.

In the countryside:

  • Use gates and stiles where available, avoid climbing fences.
  • Walk around the edges of fields of crops; remember grass is often grown to make hay or silage.
  • Avoid disturbing livestock, particularly if they have young.
  • Access rights do not extend to farm yards and farmsteads.

When gathering:

  • Avoid obstructing roads, passing places, gates and access.
  • Be aware of the cumulative effect people gathering for periods of time can have on both the birds and local residents.
  • Be considerate of other people’s property and welfare.

The Code of Conduct also gives further details about recording your finds and submitting records to the County Recorder.

When you're out birding please bear these points in mind and enjoy #shetlandoutdoors responsibly. Happy birding!

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