COVID-19 and Responsible Birding
Peter Crosson, MD.
As we've all heard, social distancing is key, and birding can be a wonderful form of social distancing.
However, it's not social distancing when you are riding in the car with other birders who don't live with you. Anyone of us can be exposed to the virus through asymptomatic friends, so restricting yourself to hanging out with people who have no symptoms is not enough.
It's not social distancing when you are clustering in groups, and certainly not when you are sharing optics such as scopes.
Since this began, I have gone birding once with another person. We met at the site, having come in separate cars. We kept six feet distance between us at all times and did not share any optics. This is social distancing.
Avoid touching handrails that other people could be touching, as the virus can live on surfaces for three to five days. Frequent handwashing and use of at least 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer is also crucial. Always cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze and dispose of tissues.
We are at a tipping point in this crisis, and as an educated and caring group we need to commit to doing everything we can to stop COVID-19. If we lose one member of our birding community because of this virus, it will be a tragedy. Changing our behavior can keep birders safe.