Photographing wild birds during the breeding season

Dunnock nest by Ed Drewitt

A dunnock nest checked as part of the BTO’s nest record scheme.

Photography of wild birds in Britain is limited by law where it involves the disturbance of rare breeding species and other locally uncommon species. Other legal and moral restrictions, such as those affecting access to nesting colonies, or feeding and roosting sites, may also be relevant to photographers seeking close views. The birds’ welfare must always come first – photography should not disturb their normal activity. At times this will mean not taking photographs. Remember that public opinion generalises actions, and that the thoughtlessness of one bird photographer may damage the reputation of others.

Birders’ code of conduct

However, if you are interested in recording the eggs and chicks of birds to help the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) discover more about how our birds are faring during the breeding season please get involved in the BTO”s nest record scheme. This follows strict and careful ways of checking nests. Any rare bird nests can only be checked with a special schedule 1 licence.