Orange-bellied Trogon


We are so fortunate to have such great birds and biodiversity around us. We cannot take wildlife for granted, and it is our responsibility to care and show respect for the natural world – whether that be the birds themselves, their habitats, food or behaviors – in our actions and values. Please practice the following birding ethics in your daily lives:

Respect their space

Birds will not hesitate to let us know if they are agitated or upset. Do not chase or invade a bird’s territory if it is showing signs of agitation. A fleeing bird or a bird giving an alarm call may indicate to us that you may be too close. Nesting birds may not always flee, yet do a distraction display to ward you away from their nest and young. Absolutely do not disturb a bird sitting on its nest, as it will be reluctant to fly away yet become highly stressed. Your guide will set up the high-power spotting scope for you to enjoy nesting birds from a safe distance.

Reduce disturbance

Noise, heavy trudging through leaf litter and often flash photography will easily disturb birds and likely cause them to fly away. Consider ways of reducing disturbances to the birds and wildlife when it the field. For those who use green pointers, including our team of professional guides, it is extremely important to not shine the light directly on the bird or even too close to the bird; ensure a safe distance in order to reduce potentially harmful disturbance. 

Be mindful of use of recordings

The use of recordings, when used ethically, can be an excellent tool for bringing in shy rainforest birds in good view. However, this is one of the common tools that is frequently misused in the field. Use recordings judicially and limit overplaying bird songs and calls. Play the call up to only a few times and stop as soon as the bird comes in. Do not continue to play the call if the bird does not respond, and overuse of playbacks and recordings at a particular site often has negative effects of birds not responding at all. 

Wear neutral clothing

Some birds, especially birds of the forest understory, are sensitive to bright colors on shirts and clothing. So, leave the Hawaiian shirts at home. 

Be especially respectful of rare or endangered species

Some species are common and adaptable to human disturbance, but others are very sensitive to even the slightest disturbance. In particular, endangered and rare species, as their populations are in low numbers, are especially sensitive and disturbances can have negative effects on the species. 

Don’t litter

In addition to being unattractive, roadside and trail garbage is known to harm wildlife in so many ways – directly and indirectly, and it is generally bad for the environment. Please don’t litter, it’s as simple as that. Any trash you accumulate while in the field please bring it back to the lodge with you and dispose of it there. Your guide will always have a trash bag available for collecting trash.

Crowned Woodnymph
Olivaceous Piculet
Tody Motmot


Likewise, when it comes to birding with others or in a group setting, as many of our guests do when they visit the Canopy Family lodges, there are considerations to respect not only the birds and wildlife but others in the group to ensure that everyone has a positive, rewarding experience. 

Keep voices down

Noise is the number one disturbance to birds and wildlife. Especially in a group setting, even a conversation between two people can be enough to cause nearby birds to flee and , leaving some members of the group without a view of the bird.

Mind your space

Keep in mind that there may be someone behind you trying to get a photo through a small gap in the forest foliage.

Using the Spotting Scope

There is no guarantee that a bird will sit still for very long. Once your guide sets up a spotting scope on a bird, form a line and take a quick look and move aside to ensure that everyone in the group gets a look. If the bird continues to oblige, then there will be time for longer scope views and digiscoping. 

No trespassing

Respect boundaries and borders of public and private properties. Trespassing onto private property for birding often results in landowners frowning upon birders and birding, and can cause disputes among community members. Likewise, stay on trails and paths to reduce environmental disturbance off-trail. 

Be polite to your fellow birders

A little kindness goes a long way! Be respectful of your group members, whether you know them or not, to ensure a positive birding experience. Respect their interests, rights, and skill level, and be especially helpful to beginner birders. 

Following these simple considerations will ensure a pleasant experience for both the birds and wildlife and us, as well! 

Birders enjoying their time at one of the Canopy Family's ecolodges. Book now!