Bird Watching: What Are the Basics for Beginners?
There are all sorts of hobbies one can take up, but few of them offer the unique benefits birding does. For a start, it’s a hobby that can connect you with nature without it causing too much strain on your wallet, even if you’re new to it. In addition, it’s also fun to do anywhere, even through your home or car window regardless of your location.
I don’t have to tell you this is particularly great now at a time when most of the world is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and travelling has become somewhat challenging. Also known as bird watching, it’s become especially popular in Australia given its versatile bird species which truly makes it a bird lover’s paradise.
Regardless whether you plan on keeping it as a side activity or investing your passion into it, you can count on getting some more than needed vitamin D and fresh air. These two can improve your mood, reduce stress, improve blood pressure, heart rate and immune system as you focus on locating birds.
Same as with fishing as a hobby, it also can significantly improve your patience because there are days when it takes longer for some birds to make an appearance, if they do. And when they do, you require quick reflexes and mental alertness to seize the moment.
Besides making you healthier both in body and mind, this provides you with the chance to develop an appreciation and respect for nature as you come to understand more about your surroundings and the types of birds that live there. Still, to be able to make the most of it, here are some ways to prepare for the fun and exciting activity.
If you don’t have any sight issues, you’re probably wondering why it’s worth investing in a pair of handy and compact binoculars. Sure, you don’t need them to succeed in the hobby, but if you want to excel in it and make it easier to spot the birds and check their details to the fullest, such a basic piece of equipment becomes mandatory.
Binoculars are what the rods are for fishing! Having this in mind, and the vast range of options at the stores, it takes some consideration on materials, features and pricing to be able to make the right choice. As a beginner, you should stick to lightweight and compact designs, and as you progress in the hobby with time, and your muscles become stronger, you can look for something sturdier and heavier.
Don’t forget to check the optics, specifically field of vision, zoom, brightness and clarity of the binoculars for sale, because they’re essential for the vision and how easy it would be for you to spot the birds as they move or hide in the trees and branches. Once you decide on the model, be it waterproof, anti-slip, with or without a tripod adapter, you can use it for other outdoor activities too such as game watching, whale watching and ship watching.
The best way to be alert and seize the moment with the compact binoculars is to know what you can expect to find around you. This is why it’s so important to get the information you need for the bird species and birding basics in the particular area you’re interested to do the bird watching. Nowadays it’s easy to do so as there are specialised birding apps you can download on your smartphone that wouldn’t only provide you with bits and pieces of advice, checklists, guides, but even bird songs and calls.
Still, if you like to keep it old school, and even online search wouldn’t do, then you’re sure to come across a wide range of birding books and guides you can read up as you move along in your hobby. Moreover, joining up bird watching clubs is another way to find out some more information from experienced people along with working on your social life as well.
Once you’re out in the field looking for birds, it’s advisable to have a list with you of those who can be seen there. To make good use of all of the information you gather up, after spotting and identifying them remember to take notes.
Get Ready for the Outdoors
If you plan on taking to the outdoors to pursue this pastime activity, you better be prepared for it. Since birds are most active when the sun is up, you might want to look for them early in the morning. This can be a bit of an issue if you aren’t a morning person so before you set out, get in the habit of rising early.
Furthermore, always check the weather forecast beforehand to know the basic essentials you should have with you. For instance, when it’s hot, you need to dress up lightly and carry as much water and sunscreen with you as you can.
When it’s cold and wet, you require all the warm and waterproof clothes you can get, along with the suitable footwear to make it through the muddy terrains. Not to mention, to elevate your energy levels and stay warm, you could use some well-chosen snacks too like healthy energy bars.
In case you’re not particularly the outdoorsy type, I suggest you get a bird feeder and birdbath for your yard or balcony so the birds can come over to you instead.