Bird watching etiquette on roads

To: "Birding-aus (E-mail)" <>
Subject: Bird watching etiquette on roads
From: David Geering <>
Date: Thu, 9 Nov 2000 10:17:31 +1100
Trevor Quested related the following:  "They also passed on an unpleasant
experience in the Capertee Valley the previous day.  They were pulled off
the road birdwatching and a local lady with a small child stopped her car
and abused them for being on the road, abused all bird watchers for not
pulling far enough off the road and blamed birdwatchers for one of her
friends nearly having a serious accident. She kept it up for 10 minutes and
would not listen to any reason.  Bad karma in paradise!".

This does not surprise me at all.  I have had a lot of dealings with
landholders in the Capertee Valley over the past seven years.  Recently,
people have been mentioning to me that they have encountered birdwatchers
standing in the middle of roads on blind corners and cars parked on the
roadside in an unsafe manner.  Interestingly, it's only been the last six
months that these complaints have been made.  I should say that these
comments have been regularly made by a number of people.  The timing
coincides with the presence of Regent Honeyeaters on the Rylstone Road and
an associated increased birdwatcher presence on this road.

I must say that I have seen people parked in dangerous places myself.  My
feeling is that people birdwatching along roads should be particularly aware
that there are other road users.  PLEASE park in places that offer oncoming
traffic a good view well in advance and park well off the road.  This might
mean walking several hundred metres to where you want to birdwatch.  If
birdwatching on the road, and the best views are often from the middle of
the road, please be very aware of traffic and do not stand on the road at
blind corners (I've seen people doing this - seriously!)

I don't believe I am writing this, it's all road safety common sense.  I
mentioned this issue to someone birdwatching (and badly parked) in the
valley a few weeks ago.  Their response was that people drove too quickly on
these roads.  They missed the point entirely!  It is your responsibility not
to endanger other road users.  I would hate to hear of a birdwatcher, or
local, being involved in an accident in this manner.

Happy and safe birding

David Geering

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