Bird Watching Tips
Bird watching, or birding, is one of the most popular spectator sports in the world. People are eager to learn more on this subject and they devour articles and helpful tips on the subject.
It is challenging to identify birds, especially when they are up high in a tree or flying in the air. You need a clear and quick eye to be able to see as many details as possible in a short period of time.
The following tips can help you get the most out of your bird watching sessions:
Tip one: Get to where the birds are.
This sounds obvious, but many birders spend the majority of their bird watching time and energy on poor locations. For the most productive experience, visit a National Wildlife Refuge. There are over 500 of them across the United States. To find one near you, visit http://refuges.fws.gov/.
It is advisable to travel to the birdwatching site in the early morning. The birds are looking for food at this time. Observation can be done at a lengthier time and you can see birds easily while they are out in the open.
Tip two: Know what species to expect.
There are approximately 900 species of birds in the United States and recognizing each of them is nearly impossible. When you visit an area, do a little research first. You may find only a few species actually inhabit that particular area. With a little preparation, you will be able to readily identify bird species from each other. Keep a list of successfully viewed species.
Tip three: Get a great pair of binoculars.
Spending time and money to get to the right viewing location can be totally wasted when your binoculars are inadequate. If you have an inexpensive pair of binoculars, you are not getting the most out of your bird watching. Today’s binocular technologies provide crucial benefits in wildlife viewing. For instance, image stabilization will keep your view from shaking. This is very important when watching from a long distance. Other advanced features include anti-fogging, low-light viewing and wide-view characteristics. Additionally, binoculars with built-in digital cameras enable you to identify birds once you get home. These benefits will definitely enhance your bird watching. A great pair of binoculars will turn a mediocre experience into a great one.
Tip four: Practice before you go.
A key to viewing wildlife, and especially birds, is to have the ability to quickly put your binoculars on the target subject. Learning to focus on a bird in a bush or track a bird in flight is easy for someone who has practiced prior to their outing. Try this before you go; lower your binoculars to your side and very quickly raise them to find and follow a jet airliner across the sky. After only a few attempts, you’ll get good at quickly acquiring your target. Quite often, birds are visible for only a few seconds, practice to become proficient.
Tip five: Take someone with you.
Life is always better when shared. Not only do you get to spend time outdoors with someone, but they might alert you to a rare bird sighting of the day. Share your birding experiences with your friends and family. Pass the birding excitement to a child.
Tip six: Always keep on eye on one bird.
When you are bird watching, try to spot only one bird that catches your attention. Once you have seen one, never take your eyes off it because it might fly to a place where you cannot see it.
In most bird watching centers, beginners are given a field guide in a form of a booklet or brochure so they can identify the bird once they have seen one. Take time to observe its physical details as well as its behaviors and mannerisms. Make sure that you observe the bird’s movements, markings, feeding habits, songs, color, and size so you can easily identify it the next time you see it.
Tip seven: Listen for the bird’s calls and song.
Although listening for a bird’s song is easy, it doesn’t stay long in a person’s memory. Listen intently when the bird calls or sings and play the bird’s song in your mind repetitively. Listening to a bird’s call and song is important because it can help you identify the bird even without seeing it. There are apps available to download that will identify birds and bird songs. Look online for the best one for your needs.
See video below for an example.
Tip eight: Estimate the bird’s shape and general size.
The average shape and size of the bird will give you a huge clue in finding out the family it came from. In bird watching, make sure that you assess its overall appearance and take note of its approximate size and shape. Once you can tell from the size and shape of the bird what kind is it, then you are doing good.
Pay attention to the bill characteristics and facial markings of the bird in sight. This is one of the hardest things to do because the average of almost all birds are small. They also keep on moving so it will be hard to take note any unique markings on their faces. It is also equally hard to take note of characteristics of its bills because most birds keep on pecking all the time.
To get these details, spot a bird that doesn’t fly around that much. Once you found one, start observing its head by looking for any distinguishing hue patches or color strips. These can be present in their eye lines, crowns, napes, and arcs or in the rings.
Tip nine: Try seawatching.
This type of bird watching is for people who travel near coastal areas. Watch points such as the headland, or a high point like a sea cliff, is where you will be able to see the birds flying over the ocean. The birds that can be observed from such are called the pelagic kinds. The pelagic species of birds can also be observed when one is aboard a seagoing vessel.
Tip ten: Practice proper etiquette.
Always look out for the wellbeing of the birds. You should be vigilant about the latest technology when you use them as part of the activity, that it won’t affect the birds in a negative manner.
Bird watching may just be a hobby but one that must be done with passion and concern about the birds and their welfare.
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