Like most new hobbies, there's a lot of things you can buy, but if you are a beginner bird watcher, don’t be fooled by thinking you need everything, or should spend a lot of money to succeed at bird watching - because you don't. But we will outline a few key things you must consider and start out with to insure you will have an exciting and enjoyable time bird watching.
Here are some items that will get you started bird watching the right way.
It All Begins With The Right Bird Watching Equipment
Your equipment is not only how you get closer to the birds and make your birding experience exciting and enjoyable but it can play a major roll in the whole bird watching experience. And it all starts by having a good pair of binoculars.
This will probably be your most important piece of equipment. Even though just about all binoculars can help you see birds from far away distances, it’s how well you see them that is most important. If your bird looks fuzzy or lacks clarity and detail, chances are you won’t have a clue which bird it is, or you’ll be so frustrated you may care less about going birding again! But if you chose the right binoculars, you will be amazed at the crisp, clear, colorful image you will see. And that, is where the excitement of bird watching begins.
So how much do you need to spend to get the clear, bright beautiful image? In the past you had to spend more than $350 to acquire binoculars that offered quality construction and features like, HD, close focus, ED Glass, waterproof and light weight.
But in the last few years, excellent binoculars have become available at surprisingly low prices. A great example of this is Wingspan Optics. They recently entered the industry with a vast selection of bird watching binoculars and monoculars, with amazing quality and features exclusively for bird watchers - at very affordable prices. And to make things even better, they have binoculars for all types of birders, and all of their optics come with a 100% money back lifetime warranty.
So yes, you can now get a great pair of binoculars without breaking the bank.
Birders use binoculars with a magnification of 8 or 10. So look for a binoculars that say 8x42 or 10x42, they offer a very nice mix of magnification and offer a wide enough view that your birds won’t be hopping out of your view. Here’s more information on Wingspan Optics features and benefits.
Field Guide Books, Apps, & Websites
Let’s start with field guides. A field guide can be a book with pictures of the birds and tips for identifying them. Or it can be a mobile app or online computer guide - this electronic approach make it quick to look up birds, identify their sounds, get information and play videos - something books can't do. Believe me, once you start bird watching, you’ll immediately start wondering what are the different kinds of birds? Where do they live, and in what seasons?
If you choose a book, try to keep this guide in a place where you’ll be able to leisurely look through it for a few minutes each day—it’s amazing how much you will learn if you just spend a little time looking through the book or reviewing the bird watching apps and online information.
Remember there are many excellent book guides and bird watching apps in the market today that can help you quickly advance as a birder, so check them all out and decide what is best for you. One of the field guide favorites is the Sibley Guide, in either its full North America version or smaller, more portable Western and Eastern editions.
And on the web you can also get information and sounds for nearly 600 species for free on the All About Birds site.
Bring The Birds To You
So after you get the binoculars you need and a field guide to help you identify the birds you find, the next step is to find the birds. And the easy way to do this is to use bird feeders and add plants in your backyard so the birds come to you. There are many kinds of bird feeders in all kinds of sizes. Start out with something simple like a black-oil sunflower feeder, and a hummingbird feeder, and in the winter add one or two suet feeders. From there you can begin adding more variety like millet, thistle seeds, fruit or meal worms, to attract other types of birds.
What A Difference A Little Knowledge Will Make
Hone Your Birding Skills
Once you start seeing a lot of birds, it’s time to start practicing your approach to bird identification. Follow these steps: First begin judging the bird’s size and shape; then look for the bird’s main color pattern; watch its behavior and pay attention to the habitat the bird is in. Visit “All About Birds” free online tutorials and a free Inside Birding video series that walks you through each one.
In addition, try reading the many articles that can be found in bird watching publications and on the internet.
Know Your Surroundings
As you move from the backyard it will be up to you to search and find the birds. To do this successfully, you should learn about the habitat that each species of bird prefers, like what do they like and where do they spend most of their time? It’s also very helpful if you can learn the sounds of the birds in your yard, as well as the sounds of other birds in your area. This is important because as you search for birds, you will often hear hear them before you see them. WildBirds.com has a whole section devoted to helping you find birds. Don’t forget, take the time and check out the web sites about birds and birding locations in your state or province.
Join A Group Of Other Birders
Not only can this be fun, but also very helpful if you are a beginner bird watcher. Other birders can be extremely helpful and they are always willing to share their knowledge and talk about birds. You can start by calling your local Audubon Society, Parks Commission, or a Bird Club in your area. There are many local and regional birding organizations listed on the internet. If all else fails, go to the park with your binocular. Someone is sure to strike up a conversation and they might lead you to a whole new group of birding buddies.
Now, of course this doesn't cover everything you can purchase or do as a birder, but as a beginner, it is a simple and cost effective way for you to get started. And be a part of one of the fastest growing hobbies in North America.