Trip Leader Guidelines
SSBC Leader Guidelines
The purpose of this page is to provide a rough outline of guidelines leaders can use as a reference for the ethics and logistics of leading a trip.
Before the trip:
Have a rough idea for where you’re going during the trip. Winging it is fine, just don’t send people on a wild goose chase… unless you’re looking for geese! Do consider options for bathroom stops and plan on taking a few if the trip is going to be all-day. Coffee and/or lunch stops are a good idea, especially if it’s an all-day trip. Bring something to record the birds seen like a cell phone to use eBird or be old school and use a pen and notebook. Getting people’s eBird usernames at some point during the trip is helpful for getting the lists over to them.
At the meeting place:
Do not arrive late, and make your presence obvious so people know where you’re meeting up. Generally, a group of people standing around with binoculars works pretty good. Before going off to bird, have people stand in a circle and introduce each other and where you are from, especially if there are new people or people that may not know each other. If on a trip that involves driving, try to carpool as best as you can. Be sure to ask if anyone needs to leave early so that you can effectively coordinate cars. It’s helpful if possible to have people in each car that have a rough idea of the lay of the land, or at least to have the last car in a convoy to know the area reasonably well in case the group is split up. Do not drive off until everyone is in their cars and ready to leave.
During the trip:
Keep track of the cars in your group to make sure everyone is still together, especially at stop lights or intersections. If the car behind you is lagging behind do not expect them to speed up, rather slow down to match their pace. On highways try not to weave through traffic and focus mostly on keeping the group together.
When out birding be sure someone is keeping track of species seen and number of individuals. The use of X’s is discouraged. Your best estimate on numbers is totally fine, even if you don’t consider yourself a good estimator.
Do your best to get everyone a look at the birds on the trip. A commonly-encountered bird for you may be a life bird for someone else in your group. If playback is used please consider the welfare of the birds. For instance, using playback in a seldom-birded area can be OK, but in an area that is heavily birded should be used with discretion. It is completely unacceptable to use playback on a species that is rare, state-listed, or similar that is known to be presently breeding at this location. It is important to consider how your use of playback has an impact on the health and well-being of the birds.
After the trip:
eBird lists are expected from each trip. Once the list(s) are completed, please share with eBird username southshorebirdclub . Try your best to share the list with everyone on the trip that uses eBird, having multiple lists from the same outing has a negative impact on the eBird data as it interprets it as two separate groups out birding. Writing a trip report is optional but strongly encouraged, our blog can be found here: http://southshorebirdclubma.blogspot.com/. If any state-listed species are encountered, please consider submitting documentation of your sighting to the Massachusetts National Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) at https://www.mass.gov/service-details/vernal-pool-rare-species-vprs-information-system or downloading their mobile app.
The American Birding Association (ABA) has a more in-depth explanation of birding etiquette in their Code of Ethics, which can be found here.