A few years ago we purchased a book to help us identify birds. This was one of the most magical books we have found. Bird watching is an ideal way to keep in touch with nature, and you also have the satisfaction of learning something new. Birding also relieves stress and can provide a place of solitude except for the sweet song of a bird.
When we first started to find and name the birds in the areas where we camped, it was an exciting experience. Just knowing the names and a little bit about our feathered friends was intriguing. The confidence that comes from knowing the name of an individual species can be exhilarating.
Most people go birding as a casual activity. One of the things I like about identifying birds is that the cost is so inexpensive. But, like anything else, the better your equipment, the more enjoyable and productive your outings will be. Following are some suggestions to help you have a more enjoyable birding experience.
- One of the must haves for this activity is a field book that has pictures and tips about birds in your area or wherever you plan to identify them.
- Good binoculars are one of the most important items for a pleasurable time. We used to only carry one, or possibly two, when we would go for a nature walk or ride. On occasion, when we didn’t each have a pair of binoculars, the one without would miss that special moment when there was a flash of color. Not using a good pair of binoculars is like looking for a bird without my contacts-- it is just a blob with no clue of what it is!
- Be sure to check in your area for the species that you can expect to see. One good source is www.Birding.com. This web site provides links for you, no matter where you live, for checklists of birds in your area.
- Find out information about the birds and where you’ll be able to locate them. Do they live in the trees, on the ground, or near a lake?
Once you’ve found birding to be an enjoyable activity, you may
want to see if there are local clubs such as an Audubon Society, a local
Bird Club or Parks Commission in your area.
- There are thousands of books available on birds for your pleasure. Magazines are also available on birds and birding. You may even want to subscribe to one of them. We have books that I just like to thumb through for the beauty of the birds and to learn more about them.
- We just built a home eighteen months ago and have nicely landscaped it with an acre of grass, orchard, huge garden, and a nice water fountain. As always, we like to keep our home and yard clean and tidy. I guess a robin liked what we had and decided to build a nest under our deck. It didn’t seem right to destroy the nest that she’d made so carefully for her eggs, so we let her roost on her nest and take care of her babies. Sure enough, we’ve been finding pretty blue egg shells here and there in the yard. Her way of warding off any unwanted predators is by scattering the shells and leading them away from the nest. You can provide areas for birds to come to you by planting the right flowers or providing a bird house for them with seeds.
- I’ve found it rewarding to take notes in the books that I bring to identify the birds. On the page where the bird information is located, I record the time of day, date, and location of the sighting.
One of the best times of the day to find birds is in the early morning hours. Many species are more active during this time of the day, but can also be seen in the early evening hours. Some species are seen all day long, such as, eagles, hawks, black birds, tri-wing blackbirds, ravens, etc.
Whether we’re camping, fishing, exploring, hiking, or just sitting in our backyard, there’s nothing like the sound of a beautiful song that a bird sings.