5 Tips For Brand New Birders
If you’re like the rest of the world, you probably grew up admiring birds instinctively. It’s hard to tell what exactly it is about birds that manage to ignite such fascination.
It could be their striking features, their ability to make hovering and gliding look so graceful, or their chirpy and cheerful morning songs.
Whatever the reason is, you have, like many individuals, chosen to take that curiosity and do more with it than watch birds out your windows.
Joining the pleasant and intriguing world of birders isn’t a hard thing to do, and here are a few tips to help speed up your process.
Research Your Local Area
To help narrow your focus, and to give you an indication of what exactly it is that you’re looking for, it helps to know what kind of wild bird species inhabit your specific geographical location. A field guide will be your best friend when it comes to identifying specific calls, markings, migration patterns, and other behavioral habits.
It’s also helpful to bring a pen and paper with you, so you can learn how to differentiate between similar looking birds quickly.
Invest in the Right Supplies
There are many things you can invest in that will enhance your bird-watching experience, but when first starting out, it’s easiest to stick to the basics;
- a field guide (as mentioned before),
- a pair of binoculars,
- a notepad,
- and a digital camera
are four simple things that will help you see miniscule details and help you document your observations.
Also, make sure you get familiar with using your equipment beforehand. This will prevent you from missing out on a great photograph due to clumsiness with the technicalities. Start Small
If you don’t know much about birds, it helps to start out small. Consider taking a couple weeks to simply observe the species that frequent your backyard. This will make learning the basics come much more naturally than trying to identify and distinguish a large variety in the wilderness.
There are some easy things you can do to attract more birds into your yard; installing bird feeders, baths, houses, etc. helps to make your yard more bird friendly. The more feathered creatures that flock to your yard, and the longer they stay, the greater advantage you’ll have in strengthening your bird-watching skills. Be Patient and Quiet
The art of bird-watching is deeply rooted in a calm, relaxed energy, and to get the most out of your experiences, you’ll have to learn to be quiet and patient. It can take quite a bit of time to discover the local areas where birds congregate, so don’t get discouraged if it seems like you’re not making much progress at first. Instead of going out in search of the birds, find an area to crouch down and wait for them to come to you. One snap of a twig can send them fluttering elsewhere, so it’s important that you can learn to move in a very still, serene way in order to take pictures and notes. Join a Group
Fortunately, finding fellow birders isn’t as hard as it used to be; not only is it becoming an increasingly popular activity, but it’s easy to network and meet-up with those who share a similar interest.
By joining a local or online club, you’ll be able to receive advice from experts who can tell you where specific hubs are as well as useful techniques to try out. It can also be a great way to meet some new friends you can book exciting bird-watching treks with. Learning from those with experience can always give you an honest perspective, so reach out and make connections.
Taking time to admire birds can be a rewarding pastime; you’ll learn about different types of species, connect with nature, and strengthen your observational skills.
As is the case when trying anything new, it might take a little bit of time and practice before you really start to find your footing, but as long as you dedicate yourself to the craft, it will be time well spent. After all, life is too short to not sit back and enjoy the small things.
Ernie Allison is a freelance writer who enjoys taking life slow and appreciating what nature has to offer. When he’s not hiking and camping with his grandkids, he writes about attracting hummingbirds and building bird feeders. www.birdfeeders.com