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How to Start Bird Watching: Complete Guide and Tips

Bird watching, or birding, is a fantastic way to connect with nature and learn more about the incredible world of birds. Not only is it a great way to relieve stress, but it can also be a fun and rewarding hobby for people of all ages.

There are many reasons why you might want to start bird watching. Maybe you’re interested in learning more about the different species of birds in your area, or you want to find a new hobby that you can enjoy with your family.

Whatever your reason, bird watching is a great way to get outside and enjoy nature.

Birdwatching for Beginners: Quick Guide

Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of this enjoyable hobby:

  • be patient – Birds are often shy and won’t show themselves if they think you’re watching them. So, it’s important to be patient and give them time to appear;
  • be quiet – Birds are also easily scared off by noise. So, it’s important to be as quiet as possible when you’re birdwatching;
  • dress appropriately – Bright colors can also scare birds away. So, it’s best to wear neutral colors such as green, brown, or grey;
  • use a bird feeder – If you want to attract birds to your garden, you can use a bird feeder. This is a great way to get close-up views of birds;
  • join a birdwatching club – Joining a birdwatching club is a great way to meet like-minded people and learn more about birds.

In this article, we will tell you how to get into bird watching and how to bird watch effectively.

How to Start Bird Watching: Tips

If you would like a comprehensive guide on birdwatching for beginners, below is some information that may be of assistance. Although birdwatching can be done anywhere, it is often done in secluded areas such as forests or wetlands, where there are fewer distractions and a greater likelihood of seeing birds.

Birdwatching can be done alone or in groups, and many people find it to be a very relaxing hobby. It is important to remember, however, that birdwatching does require patience and a bit of knowledge about the birds you hope to see.

The most important thing for beginners is to simply get started and enjoy the experience.

Choose an area. When selecting a location for birdwatching, it is important to consider what types of birds you hope to see. Different birds live in different habitats, so it is important to pick an area that is home to the kinds of birds you want to watch. For example, if you are interested in watching waterbirds, you would want to pick a location near a river, lake, or wetland.

Dress for the occasion. It is important to dress for the weather and environment you will be birdwatching in. If you are sitting for long periods of time, be sure to wear comfortable clothing. If you are birdwatching in a cold or wet environment, be sure to dress warmly and in layers. It is also a good idea to wear closed-toe shoes to protect your feet from the elements.

Be quiet and still. When you are trying to spot birds, it is important to be as quiet and still as possible. Many birds are easily scared off by noise and movement, so it is important to limit both as much as possible. If you are birdwatching with others, be sure to keep your voices down and avoid moving around too much.

Use your ears. In addition to looking for birds, it is also important to listen to them. Birds make a wide variety of sounds, and many of them can be heard from a distance. By listening to birds, you may be able to spot them even when they are hidden from view.

Be patient. Birdwatching requires a lot of patience. You may sit for long periods of time without seeing any birds, but it is important to be patient and wait it out. If you are patient, you will eventually be rewarded with sightings of some of the most beautiful and interesting creatures in the world.

What Bird Watching Essentials Kit Do I Need?

The bird watching essentials kit that you need will depend on a few factors, such as where you plan to do your bird watching, what time of year it is, and what kind of birds you hope to see. However, there are a few basic items that every bird watcher should have in their kit.

Binoculars are perhaps the most important item in a bird watcher’s kit. They allow you to get a close-up view of the birds you are observing without disturbing them. A good pair of binoculars should be lightweight and easy to use, with adjustable focus to suit different vision needs.

Bring a bird guide. Bird identification can be tricky, especially for beginners. A good bird guide can help you to identify the birds you see. Most guides are organized by region, so be sure to bring a guide that covers the area you will be birdwatching in.

A notebook and pencil are also useful items to have in your kit. You can use them to make notes on the birds you see, as well as to record any other observations you make.

Other items that you may find useful in your bird-watching kit include a hat or cap to protect you from the sun, binocular straps to help you keep your binoculars handy, and a small first-aid kit in case of minor injuries.

Birding Movie and Books

There are many ways to learn about birds, and one great way is through movies and the best bird-watching books for beginners. There are many different titles to choose from, so finding the perfect one for you or your family should be easy. Here are some of our favorites:

The Big Year: This movie, released in 2011, follows the stories of three different birders who are competing to see the most species of birds in one year. It is a fun and inspiring film that will leave you wanting to get outside and start birding yourself.

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill: This 2003 documentary tells the story of a man in San Francisco who befriends a flock of wild parrots and comes to love them as his own. It is a heartwarming story that will show you the special bond that can form between people and animals.

The Birders: The Movie: This Canadian documentary follows a group of birders as they travel across North America in search of rare and interesting species. It is a great film for anyone who wants to learn more about the world of birding.

Birds in Town and Village: This book, written by Oliver L. Austin Jr., is a great guide for anyone who wants to learn more about the birds that live in their own backyard. It is an easy read that is full of information and beautiful photographs.

The Sibley Guide to Birds: This book, written by David Allen Sibley, is one of the most comprehensive guides to birds available. It is packed full of information on identification, habitat, and behavior and is illustrated with beautiful paintings of over 800 different species.

These are just a few of the many great titles that are available on the topic of birding. Whether you are looking for a movie to watch or a book to read, there is sure to be something out there that will fit your needs.

Parrot on the page of a bird book

Install the Essential Apps (Merlin Bird ID, Ebird)

There are a few essential apps that every bird lover should have on their device in order to help with identification and data tracking. Two of the most popular and useful apps are Merlin Bird ID and eBird created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Merlin Bird ID

This app is a must-have for any birder, as it can help you identify birds with ease. The app covers over 650 North American birds, and all you need to do is enter a few simple details about the bird you are trying to identify.

Once you have entered the information, the app will give you a list of possible matches, complete with photos and descriptions.

eBird

This app is also essential for birders, as it allows you to keep track of all the birds you see. Not only can you log the birds you see, but you can also track their movements and see what other birders are seeing in your area. This is a great way to stay up-to-date on local bird activities, and it can also help you plan your birding trips

Get a Field Guide

A bird-watching guide is an essential tool for any serious birder. A good field guide will help you identify the birds you see, learn about their habits and ecology, and find the best places to go birding. Here are some tips for choosing and using a field guide:

  • choose a field guide that covers the birds in your area. If you live in North America, a good choice would be the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds. If you live in Europe, a good choice would be the Collins Bird Guide;
  • learn how to use your field guide. Field guides are organized in different ways, but most follow a similar pattern. The birds are grouped by family, and each family is represented by a different color. For example, all the warblers are in the yellow-rumped warbler family and are represented by a yellow square;
  • use your guidebook to identify the birds you encounter. First, look for the general shape of the bird. Is it a small bird or a large bird? Is it a songbird or a raptor? Once you have narrowed down the possibilities, look for other identifying features such as color, pattern, and habitat;
  • take your field guide with you when you go birding. You never know when you’ll see a bird you can’t identify!

Choose Your First Binoculars

a woman watching birds

Whether you’re a seasoned birder or just getting started, you’ll need a good pair of binoculars to really enjoy the hobby. But with so many different models and brands on the market, it can be tough to know which pair is right for you. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for your best beginner birding binoculars.

Magnification and objective lens diameter

The first thing to look at when choosing binoculars is the magnification and objective lens diameter. Most birders will want a pair of binoculars with at least 8x magnification and 40mm objective lenses. This will give you a good balance of power and light-gathering ability, making it easier to spot and identify birds.

Field of view

Another important consideration is the field of view. This is the width of the area you can see through the binoculars and is typically given in feet at 1,000 yards. A wider field of view is better for birding, as it will allow you to see more of the sky and locate birds more easily.

Weight and size

You’ll also want to consider the weight and size of the binoculars. Heavier binoculars can be more difficult to hold steady, so if you have shaky hands, you might want to opt for a lighter model. Likewise, larger binoculars can be awkward to carry around, so if you plan on doing a lot of hiking, you might want to choose a smaller pair.

Price

Of course, price is also one of the factors to consider. Binoculars can range in price from less than $100 to several thousand dollars. It’s important to find a pair that fits your budget, but don’t sacrifice quality just to save a few dollars. A good pair of binoculars will last you for many years, so it’s worth investing in a quality pair that will provide years of enjoyment.

Amazon Bestsellers

Warranty

Finally, be sure to check the warranty before buying. Most binoculars come with a limited warranty, so if there are any problems with the binoculars within that time frame, you should be covered.

With these factors in mind, you should be able to find a great pair of binoculars for bird watching. Try out a few different pairs before making your final decision, and ensure you feel comfortable using them. With a good pair of binoculars, you’ll be able to enjoy birding for many years to come.

How Do I Find the Birds?

The best time of day to find birds is at dawn and dusk when they are most active. During the day, birds tend to be less active and may be more difficult to find.

One of the best ways to find birds is to listen to their calls. Each bird species has a unique call, so by listening carefully, you may be able to identify the type of bird and find its location.

Birds of prey

Birds of prey, such as hawks and eagles, can be found in open areas with good visibility, such as fields, meadows, and roadsides. They typically hunt during the day, so they are easier to spot during this time.

Songbirds

Songbirds, such as sparrows and finches, are typically found in woods and forests. They are more active in the morning and evening, so these are the best times to look for them.

Waterbirds

Waterbirds, such as ducks and geese, can be found near ponds, lakes, and rivers. They are more active in the morning and evening, so these are the best times to look for them.

Beach birds

Beach birds, such as sandpipers and gulls, can be found near the shoreline of lakes, rivers, and oceans. They are more active in the morning and evening, so these are the best times to look for them.

How Do I Learn to Identify Birds?

There are many ways that you can learn to identify birds. One way is to take a class or birding course offered by your local community center, nature center, or Audubon chapter. These classes are usually offered in the spring when many birds are migrating through the area.

Another way to learn about birds is to join a local birding club. Birding clubs often offer field trips and other events where you can learn about birds and see them in their natural habitats.

You can also learn about birds by visiting a local park or nature center. Many parks and nature centers have birding programs that offer hikes and walks led by knowledgeable birders.

Finally, there are many resources available online and in libraries that can help you learn about birds. Some of these resources include identification guides, bird call recordings, and online birding communities.

Pick Your First Bird

Choosing the right bird for your first bird-watching experience is important. You want to make sure you pick a bird that is active during the time of day and season that you plan on bird-watching. You also want to pick a bird that is available in the part of the country you live in. Here are some tips to help you pick your first bird.

Activity level

The first thing you must consider when choosing a bird is the activity level. Some birds are more active during the day, while others are more active at night. You should choose a bird that is active during the time of day that you plan on bird watching.

Seasonality

Another thing to consider when choosing a bird is the seasonality. Some birds are only available during certain times of the year. You want to make sure you pick a bird that is available during the season you plan on bird-watching.

Location

Finally, you want to consider the location of the bird. Some birds are only available in certain parts of the country. You want to make sure you pick a bird that is available in the part of the country you live in.

With these tips in mind, you should be able to pick the perfect bird for your first bird-watching experience.

Where to Look for Birds?

Water sources

Birds need water for drinking and bathing, so a good place to look for them is near a water source. This could be a pond, lake, river, or even a birdbath in someone’s yard. Be sure to check both the water and the surrounding area for birds.

Habitat edges

Another good place to look for birds is the habitat edge. This is where different habitat types meet, such as a forest and a meadow. Birds will often times be found in these areas because they offer a variety of food sources and places to hide from predators.

Sheltered areas

Sheltered areas are also good places to find birds. This could be a thicket of bushes or even a building. Birds will often use these areas for protection from the elements and predators.

Trees and branches

Trees and branches are also good places to look for birds. Birds often perch in these areas to survey their surroundings and look for food. Be sure to check both the tree itself and the surrounding area for birds.

FAQ

man watching birds

What time of day is best for bird watching?

If you’re interested in bird watching, the best time of day is early morning. But keep in mind that the time of day can vary depending on the season and the location. And some birds are more active during the day, while others are more active at night.

What month is best for bird watching?

May is the best month for bird watching. This is because a large number of bird species return from their wintering grounds during this month. Additionally, the trees are beginning to bud during this time of year, providing more food and shelter for birds. Finally, the weather is generally warmer in May, making it more pleasant to be outside observing birds.

What is another name for a bird-watcher?

An ornithologist is a person who studies birds, usually for scientific purposes. Bird-watching, or birding, is a popular hobby, and many people who enjoy watching birds are not ornithologists.

Conclusion

There are many different ways to go birding, from simply sitting in your backyard and watching the birds that come to your feeders to traveling to far-flung corners of the globe in search of rare and exotic species. No matter how you do it, birding is a great way to connect with nature.

We hope that our article has prepared you for bird watching. If you have experience with bird watching, please share it in the comments.

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About Valery Johnson

Hi, I am Valery and I love nature, the universe and the starry sky. Together with my friend Michael we share our practical knowledge in the field of astronomy and nature observation. We also test different optical instruments to see the strengths and weaknesses of different models. Very often we travel around our country, so we have the opportunity to test optics in different conditions and different seasons. Welcome to Michael's and my blog and we hope you find useful and practical information for yourself.

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