Bird Watching for Beginners

September 15, 2008 by  
Filed under Gardening

Bird watching is when someone takes the time to actively watch birds, and is often referred to as “birding”. It is a much loved pass time and hobby for a good number of people, and according to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service there are over 51.3 million bird watchers, (or “birders”,) in America alone – a number which is on the rise. Birding gives a person a chance to spend some time outdoors and appreciate nature while admiring different birds. Bird watching lets you not only look at birds but also listen to them, often times you will find that you hear the bird long before you actually see it. It is a great pass time for anybody who really enjoys a challenge, but also likes to relax while engaging in their hobby. Relaxing and experiencing a challenge might sound like they don’t fit together, but consider crossword puzzles or chess, and you might start to understand the appeal of birding.

There are a few tools that you will need as a beginner birder. The first thing is definitely a very good book on the subject, or a few if you have the desire to read up on the subject. Choose one in which you can easily find what bird you are looking for, as it will help you identify birds as you spot them. There are plenty of great reference books to pick from, so pick the one that appeals most to you. (Your local bookstore owner will be able to help you with this task.) Next you need to get a few pens and a blank notebook – this way you can keep a journal, which is the best way to keep notes on which birds you have seen, where you saw them, as well as some details on their behaviors. After that you will want to invest in a good pair of binoculars; keep in mind that you get what you pay for, so you shouldn’t be cheap in this department if you are serious about bird watching. The majority of birders use either a seven or an 8 power magnification, along with a 32 to 42 objective lens. These numbers read as 8 x 32, and will suit you perfectly. If you wear glasses you should consider looking for binoculars with a long eye relief, as these provide the best view. There are plenty of other things you can invest in, but these tools will give you all you need to get going with bird watching right away.

Now that you have got your equipment and are ready to start birding, you will need to know how to go about it. The best spot is probably your very own garden! This way you can learn how to use your new book to quickly look up different birds, as well as what you should be taking notes on and how to use your binoculars effectively. Plus, your yard is sure to attract plenty of different species of birds, many of which will be just as beautiful and interesting as those you will see later on out in the wild. Be sure to consider the time of day and the season, as this information can prove invaluable when understand what species of bird you should be looking for in the future.

Once you are familiar with your equipment and have taken the time to practice a little bit in your own backyard, you will be ready to spread your wings, so to speak! There are many opportunities both alone or in organized groups if you would prefer to join one of those. There are plenty of resources available to you regarding these groups, as well as trips, holidays and different kinds of birds available to you, both online and off. Your local Audubon Society is the best place to start, as well as checking out any bird watching magazines at a nearby library.

Bird watching can be a fantastic and fun pass time for anybody who is a fan of our feathered friends; be it by yourself in your own garden or with friends on holiday, there is always time for a little birding; so enjoy it!

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