How to Begin Bird Watching
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How to Begin Bird Watching

Would you like to become serious about bird watching? Here's how to get started.

Do you enjoy watching birds at a feeder? Do you like pictures of birds on your calendar? Do you try to remember the names of birds when you see them? You may not call yourself a bird watcher, but you may be one.

If you'd like to become serious about this fascinating hobby, there are a few things you can do to ensure success and keep bird watching more interesting.

First, get the right binoculars. Birds at a nearby feeder are one thing, but as soon as you begin looking to the sky or the trees to discover birds, you'll find out that you just can't see them that well. A good birding binocular will help you identify that hawk - looking bird on the highline as well as the shy one in the hollyhocks.

Don't buy birding binoculars from a catalog or through the internet. You must try them to see if they do what you want them to. Look for a light pair in case you want to take them on a day long hike and look for a pair that allows you to clearly see colors and details in shadows and light. Make sure they feel comfortable, both when carrying them and when using them.

Second, make a point to go where the birds are. That might mean your backyard, but it might also mean a trek across a prairie or forest sanctuary. Bird watching areas are well known to other birders, so ask around. If there is a birding association or club in your area, join and don't be shy about asking questions. Most birders love to help others learn about their hobby.

Which brings us to a third point. Get involved. Joining a bird watching group is a good start. Go on group outings and participate in local watches. Take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count  and get involved further if you would like to.

Fourth, look at pictures! Bird pictures can show you details that you might miss with your eyes. The more you look at pictures the more familiar you'll become with different birds so that you can recognize them without having to think about it. Their size and shape will mean more to you if you can't identify them immediately. Look at pictures of the same bird in many bird books and online.

Learning about the birds that inhabit our world can be exciting. Taking a few days to learn about bird watching can lead to a lifelong fascination to fill many happy hours.

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Comments (2)

This has got to be one of the most missed blessings people don't realize - that and watching sunsets and sunrises. Good writing Pat.

Ranked #28 in Birds

True, Beverly. Thanks.