Birding for Beginners: Getting Started

A woodpecker on Monday, a cardinal on Tuesday. Every day, it feels like you get a new feathered visitor in your backyard. You’d like to learn more about your new neighbors, but getting into birdwatching without a clear plan can prove daunting for some and turn them off the activity. 

How do you break your way into this hobby without getting overwhelmed?

Well, we’re glad you asked! With this guide on birding for beginners, we’ll show you exactly how to get started, so you’re a birdwatching pro in no time!

But enough sitting here and chirping around! Let’s jump right into it!

Grab Your Gear

One of the most important birding tips is to make sure you’ve gathered the proper gear to create the best experience. For starters, you’ll need a nice set of binoculars to see birds that are farther away. It also helps you nab a glance of more skittish birds, as they will fly away if they hear or see you coming.

You’ll also want to bring a sturdy camera for taking pictures, but make sure it has a powerful zoom lens ready to go to grab pictures of far-away birds. A field guide to different species of birds will also help you, as you can identify birds based on cross-referencing their physical features and behavior with the guide. Some field guides will also list the food or environmental preferences of the bird, allowing you to change your backyard to bait it there (if you’re so inclined).

Finally, make sure you bring the proper clothing for going birdwatching. Long sleeves to protect your skin from thorns or poison ivy (if you’re going in the woods) and long pants to block ticks or clothes with muted colors (so as not to attract attention) will help out here.

Location Is Everything

When figuring out how to start birding, use your backyard as a training ground of sorts. You can buy bird feeders tailored to the species of bird you want to see and view different birds from the comfort of your own home (you can get more info about these feeders online). 

Once you’ve gotten more comfortable, venture out to local parks or forests to discover more species. Waterfronts are also a great intermediate answer for spotting ducks or other water-based birds. Once you’ve got a lot of practice under your belt, consider traveling out-of-state to festivals or national parks to see special birds you won’t find anywhere else.

Know the Prime Times for Birdwatching

If you want to spot a ton of birds, try to go birdwatching in the early mornings. Since birds are more likely to sing in the morning, waking up early can give you a chance to spot all sorts of birds practicing their calls. 

You should also consider going out after it rains if you live in wooded areas. This is because the rain floods the ground, forcing worms up out of the ground and giving the birds a free buffet. 

Learning Birding for Beginners? Group Up

Finally, teaming up with local birdwatching groups or following these groups on social media is a great way to dip your toes into the world of birdwatching. You can take birdwatching classes with these groups or learn more about their techniques by going on expeditions with them, letting you see pros at work while meeting people with similar interests.

A Bright Future of Birdwatching

And there you have it! Take this list of tips for birding for beginners and start watching your new avian friends today!

But what if you need extra assistance identifying birds or dealing with animals you find in the wild? If that’s the case, make sure to check out the other posts here on our blog!


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