5 Tips for Successful Bird Watching by Chuck Fitzgerald
Can you name the number one spectator sport in North America? It's not baseball, figure
skating or racing. It's bird watching. That's right, more people are watching birds than
football and hockey combined. With so many people hoping to see a bird they've never seen
before, it's not surprising to see a clamoring for the latest tips and tools to get the
job done. Here are my top five tips for getting the most out of your birding experience.
#2. Know What Species to Expect. There are approximately 900 species of birds in the United States and recognizing each of them is nearly impossible. So when you visit an area, do a little research first. You may find that perhaps only a few species actually inhabit that particular area. With a little preparation, you will be able to more readily identify bird species from each other. Keep a list of successfully viewed species - we'll call this tip number two and a half.
#3. Get a Great Pair of Binoculars. Spending time and money to get to the right place can be totally wasted when your binoculars are inadequate. If you have an inexpensive pair of binoculars you are not getting the most out of your viewing. Today's technologies come at a price and they provide crucial benefits in wildlife viewing. For instance, image stabilization will keep your view from shaking-very important when watching from a long distance. Other cool features include anti-fogging, low-light viewing and wide-view characteristics. Additionally, binoculars with built-in digital cameras enable you to identify birds once you get home. These benefits will definitely enhance your bird watching. A great pair of binoculars will turn a mediocre experience into a great one. You can count on it!
#4. Practice Before You Go. A key to viewing wildlife, and especially birds, is to have the ability to very quickly put your binoculars on target. Many people have difficulty finding a full moon in a pair of binoculars-but alas-learning to focus on a bird in a bush or track a bird in flight is easy for someone who has practiced prior to their outing. Try this before you go; lower your binoculars to your side and very quickly raise them to find and follow a jet airliner across the sky. After only a few attempts, you'll get good at quickly acquiring your target. Quite often, birds are visible for only a few seconds, practice to become proficient.
#5. Take Someone with You. Life is always better when shared. Not only do you get to
spend time out of doors with someone you like, but they might alert you to the
"Number One Sight of the Day." Share your birding experiences with your friends
and family. Pass the birding excitement to a child.
About the Author of this Article
About the author: Chuck Fitzgerald is the President of Arizona based BackCountry Toys, an online store providing backcountry specialty gear and educational information for outdoor enthusiasts. Visit www.BackCountryToys.com to receive the free newsletter "FreshAir" or call (800) 316-9055.
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