Introduction to Birding
Introduction to Birding
Birding is a challenging, rewarding, and fun past time that is enjoyed throughout the world at rapidly growing rates. Birding is an economically and environmentally safe hobby that helps unite families, couples, and educate people and children of all ages and interests. Birding brings people outdoors, builds interests ranging from photography and illustration to species determination through research and detailed examination. It is very easy to become a hooked birdwatcher once initial steps are taken. Birds are beautiful and a delight to watch as they socialize, nest, and simply enjoy their surroundings.
Birding Complements Current Hobbies
Birding integrates well with many pastimes already enjoyed. Gardeners can enjoy bird watching as they tend to their flowers and plants, often starting with just Birdhouses or Birdfeeders. Birds bring life to a yard with their singing and whimsical flights and games. Birds become a gardener's friend as they become used to a devoted gardener's daily work, and are more likely to allow a familiar human to approach than a stranger.
Birds are natural subjects in photography and art, and the ability to capture the essence of a bird through a camera lens or with a brush is an unparalleled accomplishment to an artist. Photography also helps to quickly excel in the field of species recognition, as a picture lasts longer than a memory, allowing one to later compare a new bird picture with those in bird books and on the Internet.
Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts find bird watching a great source of exercise, and are able to witness different birds in different regions, and how birds are affected by changes in the environments. Traveling beyond one's backyard also allows birders to see birds of prey in action, territorial birds, rare species, and birds who are not likely to be found in locations of dense human population.
Birding is a great activity for schools, day cares, and caregivers to introduce in an effort to educate and occupy their students and children. Birds are not as habitual as a structured environment so they serve as a wonderful distraction and a source of great interest. Breaking up monotony with bird watching is an ingenious idea, complete with education and increasing interests in outdoors, animals, our planet, and learning the importance of paying attention to details.
A few basic supplies help to make birding easier, and advance the beginner bird watcher quickly. A bird guide is a good tool, especially one that can be carried along on a hike or outdoor walk. Bird guides will help bird watchers to quickly and easily identify many birds, especially the most common birds including Bluebirds, Chickadees, Wrens and Sparrows. If it is found that a particular location is greeted primarily by Bluebirds, it may be smart to add one of our Decorative Birdhouses and study what type of bird food such a bird prefers. The initial introduction of a bird house to the yard will advance experience in birding and knowledge leaps ahead as one begins to diagnose bird behaviors, and how life in the yard may change. New animals may come forward, insects may dwindle if the birds have a pallet for insects, squirrels may become more prevalent and amusing with their antics, and additional birds may be attracted.
Quality binoculars carry their weight in gold, and are available at many price levels. Binoculars will help to watch birds high in trees or at far distances, and some birds are very wary of humans and will be more relaxed if birders keep their distance. Binoculars help birders to observe characteristics and behaviors closeup, as well as see detailed markings.
A digital camera should always be handy, so don't forget to pack it when hiking and picnicking! Zoom capabilities can help to get the best lasting images, zooming in on details such as bills, tail feathers, colors, and spots. Cameras also help to capture birds in flight and at rest, as well as picturesque, peaceful moments. Birding images can be kept for personal use or shared for educational purposes with other birders and schools. New species of birds are still being discovered, and pictures help in the study and research of new birds.
Backpacks, bags, and good hiking shoes or boots are recommended for traveling bird watchers. Once on the tail of birds, it is hard to stop the pursuit of the perfect picture or determination of species despite the wetlands or rocky terrain that is coming underfoot. Be prepared to walk through less than ideal grounds as well as the need to pack away the bird reference guide and camera to cross difficult and often muddy landscape.
Window Bird Feeders help make bird watching easy up close. Simply attach to a window at home, work, or in a school, and watch closely as birds visit and eat, possibly becoming territorial or initiating courtship with other birds.
Families and couples can benefit from birding just as individuals seeking to enjoy the world around them. Sharing the joys of birding and the adrenaline rush of finding a new or unexpected species or species behavior is a bonding experience, and can be done with children, a spouse, friend, or through a birding forum. Birding is challenging at all levels, from the beginner to the seasoned bird watcher. Identification of some birds can be very difficult, requiring close study and research, and often birds can only be distinguished through their personality traits. There are many organizations and bird trips available to anyone who is interested in continually improving their hobby, and conservation societies for aiding in the protection of birds.
It is surprising how easy it is to become a bird watcher. No skills or prior experience with birding is ever necessary, and once birding is introduced the advancement of knowledge is immediate and enjoyable. Birding helps build self esteem, a sense of respect for the environment, an interest in the outdoors, and helps to hone in on other skills and pastimes. So gather your family, take a friend, or venture on your own and enjoy the increasingly popular birding community this spring, and all throughout the year.