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January 31, 2022 2 min read

Bird watching is FUN! It gives you a great excuse to leave your television behind and venture out into the elements. Need a good reason to head out and go for a walk? Bird watching provides a healthy activity that just about anyone can enjoy. You don’t need good knees like skiing. You don’t even need to be able to venture beyond your backyard. Bird feeders placed on window sills allow individuals with limitations to enjoy birds with little or no effort. 

Birding is also the ideal solitary sport. There's a special pleasure in going out alone to bird watch. Your mind settles down.  Your senses open up, and all nature seems to become your friend. Birding is a sport of many moods, and it serves the causes of companionship and solitude equally well.

Be warned, however, Birding can be addictive. You may find yourself obsessed with some rare species that may have been reported locally. You may find yourself getting up earlier and earlier to put in a few hours of birding before work. You begin looking at your landscaping in a whole new way as you start planting more bird-friendly plants, installing feeders and birdbaths, and reducing the use of harmful chemicals.

What equipment do you need?

  • Binoculars are a birder's eyes on the world, and they can greatly affect the quality of a bird outing. Good binoculars make for good birding, while bad binoculars can lead to missed birds and severe headaches induced by blurred images, double vision, and eye strain. Seven-power binoculars are about the minimum needed to see birds well. Look for binocularslabeled 8×42; 8 is the magnification and 42, the lens size. Binoculars 10-power or stronger can be difficult for some birders to hold steady.
  • A Field Guide is a little book that's packed with information about birds. It's the next best thing to an expert birder by your side. It describes and shows pictures of the birds, and it tells you which details of each bird to look for. If you want to become an avid outdoor birder, you’ll want a guide that is easy to carry and flip through quickly. If you are more of a backyard birder, watching local species on your feeders and birdbath, portability is not as important.
  • A Bird Watching Log Book will allow you to jot down birds you have seen, where you saw them, what they looked like,  what they sounded like, etc. When you record these  observations right when you see (and/or hear) them, you  will be able to better reflect on your experience later on. Birding can become a family activity. It’s a great way to get everyone outdoors. Kids will have fun learning and recording habitats and bird behavior.
  • Your camera, while this is not necessarily considered an essential piece of equipment for bird watching, we think it should be.  If you happen across a particularly beautiful species of bird and want to capture it for later study, you could rely on your mind, or you could just snap a picture.
  • Your Local Audubon Society can give you information and tips as well as provide educational programs in your area. 

Grab your gear, bring a snack, and enjoy your birding adventure!