So, you want to be a birder but you’re a total birdwatching noob. Well, you’re in good company.
Over 60 million Americans, have stood where you stand at one point and their experiences are going to make yours easier.
So, let’s take a look at how you can get started with birdwatching.
We’ll show you the basics of finding birds, identifying them and the tools that you need to get the most out of bird watching.
We can’t think of any better way to spend time in nature than enjoying its most beautiful and often most tuneful subjects. In fact, studies show that the tweets of birds can increase happiness in humans.
Where Do You Go To Find Birds?
Birding is the easiest hobby in the world in many respects. That’s because birds are still almost everywhere.
Of course, you’ll get more birds if you head out to the green open spaces around you but you’ll find them singing on the balcony of inner city apartment blocks too.
You could even try attracting birds to your yard or garden with one of these bird house kits.
The trick is then to get the birds to a.) come close enough and b.) hang around long enough for you to enjoy their company.
We follow this simple process:
Pause. This means you want to be by yourself (or if in a group – you want to be quiet as a group). Then stand still. Put anything that might distract you away (and for your own sanity, switch off your phone). If you have your “bins” (what birders call binoculars) keep them to hand. Empty your mind, take a deep breath and relax.
Look. Now, you want to look in spaces that you are most likely to find birds in the place you’re in. Check a field guide to birds in your region for details. On top of fences or power lines in the city, in treetops in the forests and even on the grass in a park. Try to find the hints of bird movement with your naked eye before bringing up your binoculars – it will save you a ton of time and frustration.
Listen. Hear the birds around you. Sure, you came to watch but half the fun is in listening to the birds sing and soothe you. They all have distinct voices and some, like the woodpecker make other sounds you can use to find them with.
Do it over again. Once you feel you’ve exhausted the bounty of one place, move on to another and start the process again – there’s always somewhere new to explore to find some avian company.
How Do You Get The Most Out Of Bird Watching?
We start with a little homework. You need a field guide (or more than one), we’ve collated 8 of the best here.
A field guide will help you understand where certain birds tend to hang out. It will help you know how to stay safe in the pursuit of birds.
It will also provide you with some decent instructions on what to do and, as important, what not to do when you get off the beaten path.
If you’re in any doubt about this, the ethics guide from the American Birding Association can come in very handy.
Then, you want to look up the weather and make sure that’s in your favor and just check the season (many birds migrate – they’re not there all year round).
Check that any apps you use for birding are installed and updated.
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