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Tips for Beginner Bird Watchers: Is it a Bird or a Plane?

William Brown Nov 6, 2019
Learn everything you need to know about bird watching. Here you will find all the foundational elements that's absolutely critical to your success.

Intro

Birdwatchers are a special breed (pun intended) and they would not think twice to stop in the middle of the road when they see a bird! Birding is a fun activity for anyone but it involves a lot of patience and a keen eye for observation. Beyond just satisfying your need of curiosity, birding can bring people from all walks of life together. So let's start!

Get a Guide & Use Smart Tools

Bird guides are probably one of the most important tools a beginner birdwatcher could have. With smart technology, you can also use mobile apps to identify birds.

You can also record and listen to sound clips to help you verify the correct species. And the use of spotting scopes is a great way to track the path and follow the birds as they fly.

Stay Quiet & Still

If you are loud and get excited about seeing a bird and you want to yell; Don't! Birds can get easily startled by noises and sudden movements. Convey your message quietly before you disturb other birds. The chances of getting closer to a bird may be greater then. If you want to get close to the bird you are stalking, you need to move very slowly and quietly.
A sudden jerk movement or even taking a photograph can frighten a bird enough to fly away. Many birds love to sing and to make their presence known, and other birds are quieter. Being patient is important when it comes to birding, not only when you are staying quiet but also when you are trying to identify the bird.

Getting the Right Equipment

Birding is only as good as the optics equipment you have. Binoculars are the number one go-to tool to use when birding. Before you purchase binoculars, you need to try it out and check if it suits you and your needs. Do you want binoculars with a better objective lens? It means that you might have to sacrifice weight.

One More Thing to Consider

Do you really want to carry around heavy binoculars while birding or would you rather settle for more compact binoculars? Other optics equipment you can use is rangefinders, spotting scopes and let's not forget the camera. They are essential for birding and it can feel like you are standing directly next to the birds you are viewing.

Follow the Flock

Now that you’ve found the right equipment for your birding adventure, it’s time to get to know your regular birds in your local area. This is the easiest way to get the hang of birding, identify the sounds and what it is etc. You will then know exactly when there’s an unusual suspect around. The chances for you to find an unusual bird in a flock is bigger.
The time of year is also important to take into consideration. Birds go where the food is. The advantages of birding are that each season is different. You might have some local residents each year, but with seasons changing there might be different birds in your area too. You might even be lucky to see some migration too!

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

the birdwatcher needs to be up before the bird catches the worm! You know most birds are more active during the day, but don’t forget about owls and other birds that are more active at night. Another thing to note is that you should try and camouflage yourself.

Be Down to Earth... Literally

Don’t wear brightly coloured clothing, darker colour clothing blends better with the surroundings than white. Earth tones can also be worn in order to blend more into the background. Birds don’t have really good eyesight so they wouldn’t pick up on movements.

Practice Makes Perfect

The great think about bird watching is that you don’t actively have to be doing it. Whether you are in your garden, walking to school or any outdoor activity, you will be able to watch birds. Start becoming observant of your surroundings and you will come to realise that you discover much more when your senses is heightened like that.
Study the habitat of where you are birding. The same birds that like wooded areas, might not necessarily like wide-open fields etc. Making notes and writing a list of all the birds you see at a particular time will help you identify the movements of the birds and of their migrating patterns.

Be Responsible

When you are out birding in the wild, it is important to take care of yourself. Try and stay hydrated and wear SPF and a hat. Wear clothes that will protect you from biting insects and the sun. Don’t litter. It is against the law to feed wild animals and do not disturb wild birds, their nests or their eggs.

Finally

Use these great tips to become an expert birdwatcher. Join a community of bird watchers and see just how much fun birding can be. Bird watching is something you can do a solo on in a group. The best way, however, is learning from other people. With these tricks and tips, we hope you will go out and start birding soon!