Birdwatchers are passionate about birds. And there are more people than ever watching them today. Birdwatching has become a very popular pastime. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to focus on nature and conservation. Many beginner bird watchers are surprised to find a like minded community close to home.
Documentaries like “Birders: The Central Park Effect” have added to a growing eco-awareness and piqued interest in birds. And there are hundreds of new “birders’ ‘ raising their binoculars every day.
Birdwatching is a way to observe birds for fun, or as a hobby. It is a “citizen science” where you get to observe a bird, identify it and share this information with others.The urban birdwatcher is learning about a variety of species through observation and documentation.
Binoculars: You are going to need two basic tools in your birders kit. First, get some decent binoculars. It’s vital that you are able to get a close look at the birds. And you may have to observe them from a distance. In order to distinguish exactly what type of bird you found you will need the binoculars.
Cameras: You will also need a camera. A camera phone might work. Just be sure that your photos are high quality enough to capture the distinct details of each bird.If you have pics of your finds, it makes the experience more interesting and enjoyable.
A camera phone is perfect if you are planning to use apps and social media to record and track your efforts.
If your birding is going to be a low-tech enterprise you will need a book to guide your efforts and identify those birds. There are some great field guides on the market.
Check out Amazon or Barnes and Noble to order online. Or for that matter get one from your local brick and mortar bookstore.
- “A Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America” by Roger Tory Peterson and Virginia Marie Peterson.
- “The Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America” by Kenn Kaufman.
- “The Sibley Guide to Birds” by David Allen Sibley.
- “National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America”
All of these are specific to North America, but there are bird guides that cover virtually everywhere in the world.
Birding is taking over the web these days. Most field guides have an app solution.
Here’s a few of the best:
- “Sibley eGuide to Birds App”
- “iBird Explorer Pro”
- “Handheld Birds”
- “National Geographic Handheld Birds”
There are also helpful websites like eBird which is maintained by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The Cornell Lab also sponsors online courses at the Bird Academy.
There are additional free online reference sources.For example Birding Buddies is a comprehensive database of information. It gives details of each bird and their classification along with real-time updates of sightings close to you.
No matter where you live, birds are everywhere. Many new birders got started from their own backyards. Today’s birdwatchers are primarily of the urban variety. “Close to home” birders can be successful on their own block, in their backyard or at a nearby park. You can find birds wherever there are trees. Enjoy yourself exploring the wonderful world of birds.