Whether you are traveling the nation in search of beautiful birds or just casually taking note of your surroundings, bird watching is an activity that can be done by almost everyone, everywhere. Bird watching simply refers to the activity of watching birds in their natural environment. For you to bird watch, you only need some binoculars, an ID guide, and curiosity. Curiosity is the key requirement here. However, these are just the basic requirements of bird watching. Read on to know exactly what you need and also tips on bird watching.
Bird Watching Tips for Beginners While Travelling
Required equipment for all bird watchers
This is what you should consider first if you want to bird watch. Binoculars can also be referred to as field glasses. This is because they are used to view far-away objects. A binocular is the most basic tool that any birdwatcher should have. The binocular helps you to see the birds better and be able to identify them.
2. Membership to a bird club
Joining a bird club will ensure that you expand your birdwatching skills and also increase your opportunities. Being around people who share the same interest as you will allow you to even go for more bird watching trips and participate in presentations which will ultimately make you more knowledgeable in bird issues. Besides, you do not need to worry as most bird clubs are eager to welcome new members.
3. Bird watching backpack
When you are out and about bird watching, you need to have a bag where you can put all your stuff and carry them as you go about bird watching. Instead of a backpack, you can get a birding vest which has numerous pockets which are big enough to put your stuff.
4. Field Journal
Many bird watchers like to keep note of their bird watching experiences and you probably would want to do the same. Besides, you need to have a written record of all the birds you have seen even if you have only seen them once in your life. Furthermore, with a large number of bird species out here, you definitely need to have a record. Your record an be done manually or you can have it in a digital form.
5. Comfy shoes
Can you imagine having to bird watch in uncomfortable footwear? You won’t even enjoy the experience as your mind will be on your feet. To avoid this, make sure that you get yourself comfortable shoes that will match the terrain you cover. For instance, if you are covering a muddy terrain, you will need rubber boots and if you are bird watching along with a boardwalk, sturdy sandals or lightweight tennis shoes will do.
Top 4 Bird watching tips
The following are tips to help you get started as a birdwatcher. Follow them and who knows? Maybe you are going to be the next birding legends like Roger Tory Peterson and John James Audubon. If you don’t know these people, you need to know them.
Take your time
Walking at a slower pace will enable you to notice more birds, especially the skulking or quiet birds. So don’t be in a hurry, birding is not like skiing or biking that easily tires the participant. Instead, bird watching is an activity that can be done by people of all ages because birding will not cause you to have an aching back or knees. Besides, for you to have a clear look at birds, you need them to be around.
Making any noise caused by hasty movements will automatically lead to birds that were close to you flying away. Bird watching involves seeing nature in flight so you need to be as patient as possible.
Have a plan
Trust, me if you go out there and start to bird watch without having a plan, you are easily going to be frustrated. As a beginner, you need to have a plan which includes the first bird you want to find and then go out and find it. A plan such as this will prevent you from being overwhelmed or feeling confused because you don’t know really what it is that you are supposed to do. Such feelings may make you give up on bird watching.
To know the bird that you can spot at that time of the year, check out birding blogs. The feeling you will get once you find the bird you were looking for is just amazing. It is the kind of feeling that will keep you coming back for more bird watching.
Read, read, read
You can start by going through any book just as long as it has maps of the range of the birds as well as their pictures. Make sure that you keep this boom in a place where you will be able to access it whenever you want to. For instance, you can keep such a book on your nightstand or in your bathroom. The book should provide you with information such as what are the various types of birds? Where is their habitat, and in which season can they be spotted? As a beginner, rather than identifying the birds, your goal should be finding out what is out there. For instance, you can read books like The Big Year, written by Mark Obmascik. If you’re not one to look things up on a book, or if you don’t have the time, Nature in Flight and other online resources can help you with any questions you may have on the go.
Take time to learn the rules
When beginning on a new endeavor, it is always advisable that you learn all the rules and etiquette pertaining to the activity. Bird watching is not different. As a beginner, the last thing you need is to offend someone in the woods when you have just started bird watching. It is even worse since you want to begin by making friends and not enemies. It is even worse when you put a bird in danger as a result of your negligence.
To avoid such scenarios, take your time to learn all the rules and etiquette associated with birding. Just remember to be polite and your mistakes may be pardoned. The following are the four simple rules of bird watching:
- Respect the bird
- Do not get too close to the birds
- Respect the environment
- Familiarize yourself with the birds
Even though bird watching is an enjoyable and safe way of passing time, when you are out in the field, you need to keep in mind a few things. For starters, you need to respect private property. To do this, make sure that you do not trespass on anyone's land, however, exciting the activity may be.
In case you have to enter any private property, make sure that you ask for permission. When leaving the private property, make sure that you do not leave the gate open if you found it closed. Leave the gate as you found it. In addition, while on private property, do not light fires, go fishing or camp without the land owner’s permission.