Appreciate nature’s wonders with bird watching
Spending time outdoors is a great way to explore and enjoy nature.
If you’re already in the habit of appreciating the unique and interesting wildlife around you then bird watching might be a hobby worth taking up.
It’s a fun and rewarding pass time that you can enjoy all over the world; you never know exactly what you’ll see next, and for that reason it’s varied and interesting for even the most experienced bird watchers.
If you’d like to study the birds in your garden or local community more closely, then get ready to spend an enriching and relaxing afternoon bird watching.
Taking your first steps to bird watching with basic tools
Even if you’ve never tried it before, bird watching is easy to take up. You don’t need loads of special equipment or even an expert knowledge of wildlife to do it – the beauty of bird watching is there’s no right or wrong way to enjoy this popular pastime and you can learn as you go along and start from the comfort of your own home.
To be successful you’ll need two basic tools: binoculars and a field guide.
Look for binoculars that are comfortable and easy to hold. Make sure they’re easy to focus with your spare hand and they don’t strain your eyes when you use them – particularly if you plan to go birding away from home you want to make sure you’re comfortable and enjoy yourself.
Some people find the process of purchasing a pair of binoculars confusing; for advice on the best accessories out there and what kind of magnification will suit you best, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds – or RSPB – offers great advice about choosing binoculars and how much you should pay for a good pair.
Choosing a field guide
A field guide is the second resource you’ll need when bird watching, and these can usually be purchased cheaply from your local bookstore or online on Amazon.
A good field guide will come with illustrations or photographs, along with information about the habits, calls and field marks of each species of bird. Make sure to get a field guide specific to the region you’re in – even the most comprehensive guide on seabirds will be useless to you inland.
The best time to go birding is in the morning when birds are searching for food – at this time of day you’ll be able to hear bird calls and songs and can observe carefully for movement in the trees when they are at their most active.
Keep a record of the birds you have seen in a notebook and take down any additional observations that might be useful to you later – this is particularly important if you’re on the hunt for rare birds that are more difficult to find.
As you go, tools like the RSPB’s Bird Identifier will also help you keep a record of what you’ve seen.
Selecting a bird watching spot
Most people develop their interest in bird watching in their own gardens. By installing a bird box or feeder you can encourage local birds to visit your back garden and can get to know the wildlife in the area.
As you continue to learn more about birds, you might want to go on a more thorough expedition to see more – there are field tours around the world you can join, and these have the added benefit of an expert guide who can teach you more about the birds, their habits and their homes.
If you’re looking for people who share your interest, bird watching clubs are a great way to meet new friends and develop your hobby further.
Would you like to get started with bird watching?
Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor
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