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Enjoying the beach with your dog

The bird aware coastal code is important when walking the dog too, and there are extra considerations where dogs are involved. By taking these steps you can keep your dog and any wildlife safe and happy while walking on the beach. You may be doing some or all of these already, in which case thank you for being a responsible dog walker and setting a good example for others.

Look out for birds on the coast and Move further away if birds become alert

Birds at the coast will be doing one of three things: feeding, resting or breeding, all these activities are essential for their survival. If you do see birds on the beach, please enjoy them from afar and give them space, especially if they seem alert or startled.

The tideline is a prime spot for birds to feed so try and stay clear of it wherever possible, especially during the winter. This is fairly easy at low tide when the birds will be further out but at high tide birds will also be much higher. At low tide there may be mudflats exposed, which are another rich food source, best avoided for the sake of the birds and muddy paws! Just give the birds as much room as you can, stay on paths where possible and consider walking when the tide is lower.

Keep dogs alongside you and away from birds

Many of the birds have really good camouflage, sometimes even when we’re looking for them with binoculars they’re difficult to spot! So taking the steps above and keeping your dog close reduces the chances of them being scared. Dogs are very similar to the birds’ natural predators so even the sight of them can be enough for birds to take flight, wasting precious energy and time feeding. If your dog wanders quite a bit please consider keeping them on the lead in areas where there isn’t much beach and you’re likely to be close to the birds.

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Keep dogs alongside you

Following requests on signs to protect our coastal wildlife

Make sure to pay attention to signs, especially those indicating when dogs should be on leads. This is important for wildlife but also for your safety as signs might warn of an unsafe path, cattle or other dangers.


Thank you for being Bird Aware!