Birdwatching is a wonderful pastime that can be enjoyed by all the family. It is low cost and gives you the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. If you enjoy watching wildlife programs on television, then why not go out into the countryside and experiencing the fascinating world of birds for yourself.
Here are ten tips to help you get started with birdwatching:
1. Purchase a good field guide.
Don't buy the encyclopedia of birds in hardback as you will need to carry the field guide with you. Camouflage Jackets for outdoor activitiesA pocket sized book that identifies all the main species and has good illustrations is ideal. When joining the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) you can receive an excellent field guide as a free gift.
2. Wear camouflage clothing.
Wear clothing that match your environment. An orange jacket in a green field is not a good idea. Try to avoid materials that make a load rustling noise. When approaching your target make use of natural features such as trees and keep low.
3. Get a good pair of binoculars.
Keep your binoculars around your neck as it is difficult to remove binoculars quickly from a case without disturbing a bird. Don't allow them to swing from your hand as they can soon get damaged.
4. Keep your eyes on the bird.
Don't look down when you have spotted a bird. Keep looking at it and raise the binoculars to your eyes. It is easy to lose sight of your target if you look away, especially if the bird is in flight.
5. Take a notebook with you.
Use the notebook to record the bird's size, shape, colour and markings. Focus on the beak and tail shape. These notes can then be used to identify the bird in your field guide, after it has flown away.
6. Learn to recognise bird calls and the tracks they leave in sand or mud.
You will probably hear the bird before seeing it so being able to recognise its call is a great help. Also the tracks the bird leaves in wet sand or mud will give you a good clue to its identity.
7. Put a bird feeder up in your garden.
It will attract a wide variety of birds to your garden and is good for identification practice from the comfort of your armchair.
8. Birdwatch early in the morning or at dusk.
These are the best times to watch birds. Some birds, such as starlings, gather in large numbers when returning home to roost. It is a spectacular display.
9. Use a telescope for long range viewing
The enhanced magnification of a telescope is a great help if viewing birds at a long distance. You will need a tripod to keep the telescope steady. Again think lightweight when choosing your equipment. It may need to be carried a long way to your birdwatching location.