Go on a Bird Watching Trip

You should consider taking a bird watching trip if watching birds in you backyard has gotten you hooked on birding.

I am sure that you've enjoyed the 20 or so species of wild birds visiting your bird feeders, but you may be surprised to discover that there could be 100 or more different species only a short drive away.

Grey Owl

So how do you decide where to go on your bird watching trip?

Here are a few factors to consider when planning your birding trip.

How far do you want to travel?

You will need to decide how much time you want to spend birding and how much time you want to spend driving. Remember that in most cases the first few hours of daylight are the best times for bird watching. So if you plan on driving a few hours, you will have to get up pretty early.

When planning a bird watching trip to birding "hot spot" that is a few hours away, you may want to consider an overnight stay.

If you are planning a day trip, you can find many great bird watching locations right around you. Consider a local park or body of water.These little known locations are convenient and often overlooked.

What kinds of birds are you looking for?

American Oystercatcher

Keep in mind that birds prefer certain habitats. As an example, you will not find shore birds in a pine forest. So if you are looking for a specific type of bird, you will need to do some research.

Your field guide is a great place to start. Look at the range map to determine if the bird that you are looking for is in your area. Then read the description, it should describe the bird's preferred habitat.

Many birding destinations will provide checklists that include birds found in that location. The links below provide information for birding locations by state.

If you are new to birding...The best thing to do is just get out there and see what you find.

Start with local destinations and don't venture too far until you feel comfortable with your birding skills. Get familiar with your birding binoculars, field guide and identification techniques. Start a list of birding equipment that you need when out in the field. Then start planning a trip to a popular birding hot spot.

Your local Audubon Society or bird clubs are great sources ofinformation for a bird watching trip. They may even offer guided field trips with an experienced birder. The links below provide information on local Audubon locations and bird clubs by state.

Sandhill Cranes

The important thing is to have fun! Try new places...eventually you will find your favorite spot.

Birding in Your State

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