"Tweeting" to all outdoor enthusiasts in the area who not only love to hike - but also love to bird!
This group is all about two common interests: hiking and bird-watching! If you are a strictly serious birder or a strictly serious hiker this may not be the group for you. We seek members who are easy-going hikers, birders, and nature lovers with a keen interest in what's in the woods and who are able to "go with the flow".
The goal is to get outside and hike but also do a little birding along the way...and, of course, enjoy each other's company and camaraderie.
Our hikes WILL literally be "for the birds"... Ha-ha! But, our expeditions may, at times, end up being more of a hike, with less bird-watching. OR.. they could end up being much slower paced as we stop and bird-watch more often - all depending on the on-site trail conditions, habitats, and what we find out there in the woods.
So...If you are happy hiking at a steady pace yet, also patient and content with stopping frequently along the way, depending on what nature chooses to present to us, then this group may be the perfect fit!
Our events will be a combination of hikes and slower-paced walks (with distances ranging anywhere from 1 to up to 7 or 8 miles.) We will traverse a wide variety of terrain and habitats in locations all over Central Maryland, Eastern WV and parts of South Central PA. We could be packing lunches or, on the "fly", stop somewhere afterwards for a bite to eat.
You don't need to be an experienced/expert birder either (although we welcome anyone who is an experienced birder and who may also be willing to host or co-host some of the group events.) We can always learn from each other, right?! I am a birding amateur and, although I have about 7 years of birding experience, I still consider myself in the early learning phase!
NOTE: Please be patient. Our event offerings may be limited, at times, until we can enlist a few other event organizers willing to coordinate and lead more hikes. We welcome ideas/suggestions and anyone willing to step up and host events.
1) Physical Fitness - We require that you are in sufficient physical shape with the ability to hike up to 7 or 8 miles in rugged terrain at a slow/moderate pace of 2 - 2.5 mph. You must also be equipped with and able to carry a daypack or waistpack and have your own binoculars. We do not supply these!
2) No Dog Policy - Due to the nature of observing wildlife in their natural surroundings, we have a strict NO DOG policy on all events.
3) Profile Photo & Residency Requirement - Out of respect and courtesy to event hosts and organizers, as well as to other group members - and as a safety/security precaution, we do require a clear profile photo of the person requesting to join our group. This means your photo MUST show your face so that members and event organizers can recognize you at our events. We do not accept new join requests without an appropriate profile photo or if you live outside of the MD/DC/VA/PA region.
4) Attendance at Events, RSVP's and NO-SHOWS - PLEASE READ CAREFULLY! Let's all strive to foster an atmosphere of common courtesy and respect:
- RSVP > YES if you plan to attend an event. Please do not show up unannounced for any event without officially RSVPing or at least contacting the host first. (It is not necessary to respond with a NO RSVP to an event you don't plan to attend. We only need to know if you are attending.) But, IF your status changes for an event you have signed up for, and you cannot go, please update your RSVP to a NO as soon as possible.
-NO SHOWS> This group, as well as many other groups, takes NO SHOWS seriously. Group organizers often put much time and effort into planning group events and also personally pay for the site. It is their prerogative to establish rules for membership. Barring an emergency situation or a sudden illness or accident, not showing up for an event you are signed up for without any notification (i.e. change in RSVP, phone call to the given contact number, or a voluntary follow-up explanation to the host/organizer) will result in your being marked as a NO-SHOW. Three (3) NO-SHOWS may lead to a suspension of your membership. Please be considerate! Other members may be on a wait list to attend the same event. Also, if you happen to be the ONLY other attendee at an event, just remember that the host is expecting you, planning on your attendance, and driving to meet you somewhere!
After the FIRST NO SHOW > Expect the host or group organizer to contact you with a reminder of the RSVP policy. *RUDE RESPONSES AND/OR REFUSAL ON THE PART OF THE MEMBER TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND THE RSVP POLICY SERIOUSLY will NOT be tolerated and may lead to immediate removal from the group.*
5) Attendance Limits for Events and Guest Policy - Due to the nature of hiking and birding, it is not conducive to large groups. Most events will have attendance limits and will NOT be open to guests. But, if you RSVP to an event and would like to add a guest, please inquire if it would be OK to bring someone as a guest. We always make exceptions - especially if the event is not full! But, do not ASSUME it is OK and/or state that you are bringing a guest, and/or show up at an event along with a guest, without asking permission first. Doing so may result in your being asked to leave the event, if the host thinks this will create an unwieldy situation in leading the hike with the total size of the group in mind.
6) Anyone signing up to participate in this group and attending any event automatically agrees with and adheres to the below Members Indemnity Agreement Policy:
By signing up for any event with Hike For Birds, participant is warranting that (s)he is in good health and physical condition and can safely participate in the exercise. Participant further warrants that (s)he is aware of the risks inherent in participating in any activity, including but not limited to: dehydration, falls, sprained or broken ankles/limbs, head injuries, getting lost from the group, heat exhaustion/heat stroke, heart attack, stroke, and potential transmission of contagious diseases from being in close contact with fellow participants such as flu, COVID-19, etc. Participant acknowledges that it is his/her sole responsibility to guard themselves from any and all such risks in participating in any activity with Hike For Birds. Participant further acknowledges that the activity host and organizers have no special skills, training or knowledge that the participant can rely on in participating in this activity. Participant agrees to hold harmless the event hosts and organizers from any injury or illness which may occur to them through their participation in any activity. Participant further agrees that if they bring a guest on this activity, the guest shall also agree to this waiver of liability prior to participating in any activity.