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Tips for Bird Watching
Tips for Bird Watching
1. Get a pair of binoculars
A pair with reasonable magnification e.g. 7x or 8x and lighter weight often works better in cluttered environments like forest or woodland. Higher magnification 10x or 12x; and heavier weight glasses are better for open country and wetland birding; but some people will find them more difficult to hand hold and therefore suffer a more shaky image.

Choose between porro prisms or roof prisms. Most serious birders use top range roof prisms, such as the Swarovski EL, Leica Ultravid or Zeiss Victory FL range; the top of the range models use this design as it is more compact and more comfortable to use. Inexpensive binoculars are generally porro prism; inexpensive roof prisms especially those without phase coating are generally to be avoided.

Also take into consideration the binocular strap. When you go into the field, you will be wearing a dead weight on your neck for hours at a time, so make sure the strap is wide and comfortable. Some birders use a harness that distributes weight to the shoulders and back instead of to the neck. Calibrate your binoculars before you go birding.

2. Get a field guide
Some people prefer the guides with illustrations because photographs can lead to confusion due to poor lighting, flash, posture, etc. Get into the habit of studying the birds habits, calls, and field marks before birding. This way, you will be ready to identify a particular bird the instant you see it.
3. Find other bird watchers
If you really enjoy bird watching, search online for birding groups and chapters near you. Many lead bird walks that you can attend. Contact local universities or parks to find out whether classes or walks are being offered. The more sets of eyes and ears there are, the more birds youll find, especially if you go with bird watchers who are more experienced than you are.
4. Start bird watching in the morning
Most of the time, you will be surrounded by bird calls and songs, but will not have a single bird in sight. Look for movement in trees, and bring your binoculars to your eyes. Dont try to find the bird through your binoculars.

If you cant go to the birds, bring the birds to you. Putting up bird feeders and keeping them filled with fresh bird food is an effective way to attract birds to your own yard. Do some reading to determine which type of feeds will attract any birds you are particularly interested in observing. Sunflower seeds will attract quite a few varieties and might be nice to start with. You can also install a bird fountain. Most things that can hold shallow water will do! Running or dripping water especially interests birds.

Dress appropriately, as you would for hiking. Colours that blend in to the surrounding landscape will help to stop birds from avoiding your presence. Proceed quietly. Loud talking or laughing can cause birds to flee before you even get close. Putting your phone on vibrate also helps.

5. Identify the bird
youve spotted in your field guide. You will find that birds stick to certain ranges range maps will be shown in your field guide. Do not focus on color as this alone can lead to incorrect identifications. Focus on shape, size, markings, posture, behavior, etc. Watch places where field markings are normally, like wing bars or the tail feathers.

If you have time, and if youre interested in having a visual record, take a picture of the bird. This can be difficult when youre starting out, especially since youll need to use a camera on a tripod in conjunction with a telescope or binoculars a practice known as digiscoping to get the shot.

To find more and different birds, you may wish to plan trips to different habitats: forests, mudflats, lakes, rivers, fields/meadows. Eventually, you may wish to plan travel even further to places which will host birds you are not likely to see near your home.

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