What we're about

"Tweeting" to all outdoor enthusiasts in the area who not only love to hike but also love to bird!

This Meetup is geared to gathering together a unique group of people with similar interests - people who not only enjoy doing some moderate hiking, but who are also interested in stopping and bird-watching along the way.

Our hikes WILL literally be "for the birds". Ha-ha!

Our goal is to get out in the woods to hike but also do a little birding along the way, which means stopping and gawking periodically....and, of course, enjoy each other's company and camaraderie.

Our events will be a combination of hikes or walks with distances ranging anywhere from 1 to up to 7 or 8 miles and covering 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.

Attending events will require flexibility and patience from all members because our expeditions may at times end up leaning more towards hiking, or they may end up leaning more towards slowing it up and doing more bird-watching. This will all depend on the on-site trail conditions, habitats, what we find out there in the woods - all in conjunction of course with a little bit of luck (i.e. what we see in the way of birds along the way may just dictate how far and how fast we travel!)

This is not the group for you if you are a strictly serious birder or a strictly serious hiker or trail-runner. We want folks who are easy-going hikers who have a keen interest in what's in the woods and are able to "go with the flow" of what nature chooses to present along the way.

You do not need to be an experienced/expert birder (although I would love to have anyone join who is an experienced birder and who may be also willing to host or co-host some of the group events.) We can learn from each other. I am an amateur...and, though I have about 7 years of birding experience, I am still really in the early learning phase!

Before deciding to join, please consider the following membership rules/requirements:

1) 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) 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 our 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 your person upon request to join our group. This is so members and event organizers can recognize you at our events. We do not accept new join requests if you live outside of the general MD/DC/VA/PA region.

4) Harrassment Policy - Although we are forming a group to be social with one another, we maintain the right to exclude individuals that harass or stalk other members of the group. Please be respectful of each other. Everyone has the right to and deserves to feel comfortable within the group. Any behaviors observed and/or reported causing individuals to feel uncomfortable will not be tolerated and may result in your being excluded from the group. Please report any issues to the group organizer.

5) RSVP's and Attendance - We have a few simple, common-sense and common courtesy rules:

- RSVP > YES if you plan to attend an event. Please do not show up unannounced for any event without officially RSVPing or contacting the host first. It is not necessary to respond with a NO RSVP to any event you don't plan to attend. We only need to know if you are attending. However, 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> Not showing up for an event you are signed up for without any notification or change in RSVP will result in your being marked as a no-show. Three (3) no-shows will lead to a suspension of your membership. It is discourteous not to let the event host know you can't attend - especially when other members may be on a wait list to attend the same event.

6) 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. Members have priority. If you RSVP to an event and would like to add a guest, please ask the event host if it would be OK to bring a guest. Exceptions can be made especially if the event is not full. Do not assume it is OK and state you are bringing a guest and/or show up to 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 with the total size of the group in mind.

7) Anyone signing up to participate in this group and attending any event automatically agrees and adheres to the below Members Indemnity Agreement Policy:

By signing up for any event, participant is warranting that (s)he is in good physical health 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,twisted ankles, getting lost from the group, etc. and acknowledges that it is the participant's sole responsibility to guard themselves from any and all risks in participating in any activity. Participant further acknowledges that the activity host and organizers have no special skills or knowledge that the participant can rely on in participating in this activity. Participant further agrees to hold harmless the event hosts and organizers from any injury 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 will agree to this waiver of liability prior to participating in any activity.

Happy Trails and Happy Birding!

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