In the Fall 2008 issue of the Virginia Society of Ornithology newsletter, VSO President David Spears said, β€œIn the Federalist Papers, Hamilton and Madison wrote, 'If men were angels, no government would be necessary.' But men aren't angels, they went on to argue, and therefore we need rules to govern our behavior. What about birders? Are we all angels? Do we need rules?”

President Spears' article continued on this idea of rules for birding and defining ethical birding behavior. The Virginia Society of Ornithology recently adopted a set of principles for birding ethically. The VSO has been considering the issues related to birding ethics for the past year. These issues have been discussed at length on the VA-Bird listserv, in emails, at VSO board meetings and field trips, in the VSO newsletter and who knows where else. Birding organizations across the country and the world are considering or have enacted similar policies. Many organizations have adopted the American Birding Association's code of birding ethics. The VSO's Principles of Birding Ethics are based on this ABA code. The VSO hopes these are guidelines that birders in Virginia will support and abide by. Please share copies of the principles with your birding friends

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