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Dog with Bird Aware Solent ranger

Enjoying the beach with your dog

We’re grateful to everyone walking their dogs who takes time to look out for birds and give them the space they need to feed and rest without being disturbed. By following the Bird Aware Coastal Code you can keep your dog and wildlife safe and happy while walking on the beach.

Look out for birds and move further away if they become alert

Birds at the coast will be doing one of three things: feeding, resting or breeding. To survive the winter and thrive in the future, they need to do all these things without being disturbed.

So look out for birds on the beach, enjoy their sights and sounds from afar and give them space, especially if they seem alert or startled.

Coastal Code: Look out for birds
Coastal Code: Move further way if birds become alert
Wading birds feeding at Yarmouth

High tides and low tides

The high tide mark, or tideline, is a prime spot for birds to feed. This means it’s a good idea to steer clear of it wherever possible, especially during the winter.

This is fairly easy to do at low tide when the birds will be further out, but at high tide birds will also be much higher up the beach.

At low tide there may be mudflats exposed, which are another rich food source. Again these are best avoided, not just for the sake of the birds, but also to keep your furry friend safe and clear of mud!

We’re very grateful to everyone who gives the birds as much room as possible, staying on paths where possible and perhaps considering to walk when the tide is lower.


Coastal Code: Keep dogs alongside
Coast and Country Canines dog

Keep dogs alongside you 

Many of the birds have really good camouflage: sometimes even when we’re looking for them with binoculars they’re difficult to spot!

So 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.

Those dog walkers whose dogs tend to wander a bit, are helping birds thrive by keeping them on the lead in areas where there isn’t much beach and where they’re likely to be close to the birds.


We love to celebrate those dogs and their owners who take time to look out for birds and give them the space they need. Dogs who’ve been spotted by our ranger team behaving in a ‘bird aware’ way are featured regularly in our social media accounts. Look out for our #WaggyWednesday spotlight.

Click here to visit the Bird Aware Solent Instagram account. 

Coastal Code: follow requests on signs

Following requests on signs

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


Thank you for being Bird Aware!