20% of the population enjoys watching birds as a hobby. It offers a way for nature enthusiasts and bird lovers to experience the great outdoors. The hobby can take you anywhere from backyards to exotic locations.
From beginners to experts, there’s much to know about the right way to go about birding. Read on for 5 smart bird watching tips for your next adventure.
1. Focus on Being More Bird-Friendly
Learning more about bird lifestyle habits is the first step in how to bird watch. This tip is great for beginners who are new to the world of birdwatching. It can also help you learn when and where to catch the best bird sightings.
Using bird feeders in your backyard helps you to start observing birds. It’s a chance to pick up on bird features and recognize different species. Feeders attract birds so you can spot them while drinking your morning cup of coffee.
Be sure to read up on what to feed birds and which birds will visit during different times of the year. Summertime is best for attracting hummingbirds using special feeders with sugar water.
It also helps to check out bird watching tutorials on YouTube. You can also watch online courses to brush up on basic birdwatching skills.
Learning bird songs is another helpful tip to expand your skills. Use CD’s or apps to help you identify different bird sounds.
It’s also important to learn bird communication patterns and call notes. Calling birds often make different sounds in different seasons. You can also practice calling out to birds with a pishing technique.
2. Get the Right Bird Watching Gear
There are a few essential pieces of bird watching equipment that will help with your new hobby. You’ll need a pair of quality binoculars for a crystal clear image.
These help you to zoom in on different species of birds. This makes it easier to classify which bird you’re spotting.
There are certain qualities to consider when selecting the right pair of binoculars for birdwatching. You want quality magnification optics with wide view capabilities.
A lightweight and ergonomic design is also important. Some models also have waterproof features for birdwatching near lakes and streams. The best brands also get backed by warranties in case of broken parts.
Using a neck strap for added comfort also makes it easier to bird watch. This gives you a more hands-free approach when traveling to birding locations.
A spotting scope is another feature to consider. It allows you to zoom in even further during your bird sighting. You can choose from angled or straight designs and get an extra 60x zoom feature.
For those who love capturing images of the birds they find, invest in a quality camera. This hobby shows the beauty of a bird in its natural element.
Wearable bird packs and vests may also be helpful for storing your gear. These options are also great for holding an extra pair of backup binoculars.
A wide-brimmed hat is helpful when bird watching. It keeps the sun from getting into your line of sight.
3. Master the Movements of BirdWatching
The art of bird spotting has a lot to do with your own movements in the wilderness. You’ll want to learn to be more discreet in certain habitats. This includes open fields, forests, and thickets.
A key tip is to learn how to move quieter when in the bird’s habitat. This includes not letting twigs snap beneath your shoes when walking. These techniques allow you a closer look at the bird.
It’s also important not to talk in loud voices around birds. So, practice whispering to your birdwatching companions instead. Also, try not to make any sudden movements as this will scare the bird off.
Remember that birds often travel in flocks. So, despite what you see there are likely many more birds nearby.
4. Educate Yourself on Different Species of Birds
There are over 18,000 different species of birds across the world. So, it helps to use guide books in your process of learning to identify different bird types.
Internet resources, blogs, and apps are also good sources of information. Merlin Bird ID, Peterson’s Birds of North America, and iBird pro Guide are top app choices.
Field guides offer images or illustrations to help you recognize different birds. Popular guides include National Geographic, Kaufman, Sibley, and Peterson.
When birdwatching, there are qualities to look for to help you with classification. This includes the bird’s habitat and unique traits. Start by looking at its shape and size, coloring, and behavior patterns.
5. Expand Your Bird Watching Horizons
Watching birds offers a chance to travel to exciting new places. As there are many spots around the world that offer great bird watching attractions.
This creates an opportunity to travel to different locations and landscapes for birding. You can get up close to native Scottish birds in the Highlands. Or head to the Everglades, Serengeti, or Galapagos Islands for sighting new species.
There are also many bird events and festivals that you can attend. These festivals occur in Canada, Colorado, Texas, and Washington. Here you can meet like-minded people and learn new techniques.
You can also join a bird-watching club in your community. This offers a way to network with other birdwatchers and share tips. American Birding Association is one of the largest organizations.
Many bird watchers also keep a list of bird species they have encountered. This way they can keep track of which birds they have and have not seen. It’s also a great way to categorize birds, by native or rare sightings.
Becoming Better at Birding
Birding is a relaxing and rewarding hobby that gets enjoyed by people of all ages. It’s a great way to experience the outdoors while catching sight of some of the rarest bird species.
These tips will help you to learn the master the art of birdwatching. Looking for more ways to enhance your outdoor lifestyle? Check out our travel section to help plan your next adventure!