Finding a hobby that you enjoy is a crucial step in ensuring you can recharge your batteries after a long week of stressful and tiring work. If you love the outdoors and the many species of animals that inhabit it, there’s no better hobby for you to consider than birdwatching.
Birdwatching is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the US and Canada right now, and it is no wonder why once you consider that it can be performed by nearly everyone since birds are rarely in short supply. So take your new birding binoculars with you and let us show you how to get started.
A fun and healthy activity
Birdwatching is an outdoor activity that embraces conservation, self-improvement goals, and exercise. It can also be performed by people of all ages, from 5 to 95 and beyond. You also won’t have to worry that it is an expensive hobby since all the equipment and accessories needed are available at the level and expense that suits your time and budget.
Though it may seem strange, the first step you need to do in order to succeed in birdwatching is nothing. Indeed, this is a hobby in which observation is vital, you will have to be still and observe the environment and be particularly aware of the movement and activity happening around trees and brush.
This step is essential in locating the birds, and even if at first it may seem complicated, it will soon become your second nature, and you will have no difficulty in registering even the smallest leaf that is not in its place. It is crucial that you are present in both mind and body, since you are a tracker, and you need to be as sharp as a hunter.
The moment you become one with nature, the “loudness” of everything that is happening around you will become even more noticeable. You will end up hearing birds well before you see them, which leads us to our next tip: sound.
Listen to the songs of the birds
Bird songs are the primary way through which ornithologists identify birds, and it is also the most efficient way to record the population in a particular area. In order to identify the specific sounds that a bird makes, you need to focus on only one song and notice its unique volume, pitch, tone, rhythm, and notes.
Birds sing to hold territory, attract the opposite sex, and to find each other. Songs can vary depending on the season, time of day, and the bird’s age. This may seem daunting at first, but practice makes perfect, and with time you will learn the distinct calls just as pet owners can understand what their dogs and cats need by simply hearing them bark or meow.
The best way to start is by focusing on the variety of calls of the birds that frequent your garden or yard since you will have more time to practice with them than the ones found in the nearest forest.
As a fun fact, birds and humans alike share the FOXP2 gene, also known as the language gene, meaning that they too learn language in a critical period of childhood. If you have birds that are nesting in your yard, you will get to enjoy a real symphony of songs.
As for when to listen, early morning and twilight are the hot times for singing. You can also use some of the numerous online resources and databases of bird songs to help make it much easier for you to distinguish between species that sound fairly similar to each other.
The right resources can make identifying birds that much easier
Once you start hearing and seeing birds, you will undoubtedly start wondering what they are. Some of them might be familiar to you, and you might know what they are, but for an amateur birdwatcher, most of them will be a complete mystery.
To help you in this regard, a good birder’s guide is a real necessity for quick identification. While online sources can be helpful, they are not as handy when you need to locate a bird quickly.
Field guides also offer tips and identification information, delineating species by type/silhouette, and similarity – birds of water, prey, and shorebirds, game birds, warblers, finches, or woodpeckers.
You can also join a birder’s club or check out online clubs and organizations if it sounds more convenient to you. For more birding resources, you can find lots of information on the internet, and visit YouTube channels to discover what local birders see in your area.
Similarly, if you have a smartphone, you can carry an entire bookshelf of information in your pocket. Most of the field guides on the market nowadays also have a digital version available as either an electronic book or as an app. Some apps can even give you directions to help you find the areas where most birds can be found.
Get the right tools for the job
When looking for tools to help them observe birds, most birdwatchers go with binoculars and monoculars since it is very easy to find models that are explicitly designed with birdwatching in mind.
Binoculars are a must for viewing birds since they allow you to pick up even the smallest details such as feather patterning and color, beak shape, and more. We recommend that you choose only lightweight binoculars for birding because you don’t want to have to carry with you cumbersome equipment.
A quality monocular for bird watching can also come in very handy, thanks to its extremely portable design. A monocular is a perfect device for some impromptu bird watching since it is so small that you won’t have any problem fitting it in your pocket, bag, or purse.
Similarly, because you can’t put too much faith in the weather, we recommend purchasing equipment that is waterproof and fog proof, so that you can be confident that no matter the weather outside, you won’t have any problem in observing all of your favorite feathered companions.