There are numerous reasons to start birding, or birdwatching! In this article we'll take you through a handful of the reasons you should partake in this wonderfully fascinating and relaxing activity.
TEN REASONS TO GO BIRDING (BIRDWATCHING)
1. Birds are everywhere
You will never have to travel far to see birds. They are as close as your backyard or neighborhood park. For more variety, try your nearest urban center, cemetery, airport or even your local land fill. Will you be traveling? Watching birds on your next vacation, camping trip or fishing expedition is a great way to see new birds. No matter where you are, you will find birds.
2. All Season Activity
You can enjoy birds every day - there is no closed season when it comes to birding. Different seasons bring different birds, but there are always some to see on any given day of the year.
There are many kinds of birds to watch and keep things interesting. Almost any location will have a at least a hundred species and most locations will have many, many more.
4. The Element of Surprise
The element of surprise is always present with birds. Birds have a tendency to show up in unexpected places and at unexpected times of the year. There is always a chance you will see something unusual when birding.
5. Birds are beautiful
Birds are one of nature's most colorful groups for a variety of biological reasons, but for us, that makes them all the more enjoyable to watch.
6. Birds are Active During the Day
Birds are active when we are. With obvious exceptions, such as owls, birds are daytime creatures just like us and can be observed easily during daytime hours.
7. Birding is for everyone
Young or old, male or female, techno or aesthetic type, casual or fanatic - there is something for everyone in birding.
8. Birding is Very Popular
In fact, birding is one of the fastest growing outdoor activities today and more people watch birds than any other outdoor pastime. This means there is plenty of help and lots of company to get started. Birders love to share the fun with others.
9. Birding is Educational
Birding is a fun way to learn about science, nature and the environment. It is a great way to connect to the natural world.
10. Equipment Needs are Simple
A binocular and a good field guide will get you started nicely. You can add a spotting scope later to expand your birding opportunities, but the basic tools for birding are within anyone's budget.
JOANIE'S LIST OF FEATURES FOR A BIRDING BINOCULAR
- Center focus - the best choice for all the various distances you will encounter when birding.
- Close (minimum) focus - 15 feet is okay, but 10 feet or less is better. Yes, there will be times you will be observing birds at distances of less than 15 feet.
- Smooth and speedy focus - you'll be trying to follow the action as birds move back and forth at various distances. You need a binocular that focuses quickly and smoothly to keep up with the action
- First binocular number of 7, 8, 9 or 10 (magnification). Binoculars with magnifications above 10x have too narrow a field of view for close in work and are too difficult to hold steady when examining fine detail. Zoom binoculars are out - never a good choice for any birding.
- Second binocular number between 30 and 50 (front lens diameter in millimeters). This will be a mid to full size binocular. You can use a compact binocular - model with a 20-25 for a second number - but this size binocular will not have the performance of a larger binocular and will not offer the viewing comfort of a larger binocular. On the other end, a binocular with more than 50 for a second number is too heavy to wear around your neck for any length of time. All in all, an 8x40 or 8x42 is hard to beat for a birding binocular and this size can also be used for many other applications.
- Good eye relief if you wear glasses. Check the specs - you'll need 14mm or more if you wear glasses when looking through a binocular. Furthermore, you should always wear your glasses when looking through a binocular if you wear glasses full-time. Taking your glasses off in the field is a good way to break them or lose them! Besides, most binoculars these days have plenty of eye relief, so don't settle for less if you wear glasses.
- Porro prism binoculars or roof prism binoculars. Binoculars come in two basic body designs, porro prism body design and roof prism body design. Either type works well as birding binoculars as long as the optics are good. Porro prisms are larger and bulkier, but are optically very efficient. Roof prism binoculars are more slender and compact, but are more expensive to make to the same optical standards. Keep this in mind if you are on a budget. If you choose a roof prism, be sure it is a PC (phase-corrected) model for the best optics. If you can't afford a PC roof prism, choose the less expensive, but optically equivalent porro prism type.
For more on birding and birding gear check out the links below!