Bird watching is a fun and entertaining activity, especially if you share your passion for birding with your friends or family. Watching the birds in the air or in the trees is already a very pleasant experience. However, your joy will level up, if you equip yourself with the appropriate bird watching tools.
If you are new to birding and you love birds very much, you are just on the right page. We have a list of the basic bird watching materials or equipment that you should acquire to grow in your new hobby. Check out our bird watching checklist below.
A field guide – Bird lovers or those who are fond of bird watching don’t simply watch the birds and observe them. They identify the birds, familiarize its pattern, movements and any crucial description that will help them identify the birds easier the next time they saw it. That is why, if you know some who is a bird watching enthusiast, you will be surprised with their knowledge when it comes to birds. So, before you start going in your backyard and spotting birds, get yourself a field guide. For instance, you can purchase “Birds of North America: A Guide To Field Identification (Golden Field Guide f/St. Martin’ Press).” This paperback is an easy-to-use field guide. You can also opt for Peterson’s “Field Guide to Eastern Birds.” These field guides are useful for beginners and expert birders alike.
A good pair of bird watching binoculars – this equipment is a must-have. Bird watching binoculars will take you closer to your subject to better identify your feathered friends. To get a good bird watching binocular, you do not really have to spend a huge amount because there are cheap binoculars that offer high quality and clear images. There are many 7×35 or 8×42 binoculars on the market that come at a very competitive price, which is already good for the craft.
Spotting scope – this handy tool will help you identify waterfowl from a distance. This is also very helpful when you have to view birds from your car or anywhere afar. A bird watching scope is a mini-portable telescope that contains additional optics for presenting an erect image. Spotting scopes also provide more magnification compared to binoculars, from about 20x to 60x. They typically come with 50 and 80 millimeters. The larger the objective, the more massive the scope is and the better it works. However, you have to use tripods to hold it firmly in place because it will be heavier.
Field journal – Bird lovers don’t simply enjoy nature, they keep a field journal. According to some sources, you can spot the difference between amateur and professional bird watchers by observing them. The latter keeps a record of their thought and observations. However, birders who just started with the hobby are also now practicing journaling. We recommend that you also do, to help yourself grow in birding. Your journal will help you reflect on your perspective and passion for birds. Journaling is a personal thing, so you can write anything you feel about birding in your field journal. You can sketch the birds that you saw and add notes if you wish.
Camera – sketching birds will take time and if you are not confident with your drawing skills, it might not help in identifying the specie. If you encounter a new bird and you can’t identify or draw it, get your camera and get a photo. A blurry photo of a bird can help you identify it when research time comes.
Flashlight – there are bird watching binoculars that deliver clear and bright images even in low-light conditions. In this case, it is recommended that you equip yourself with this tool, especially if you do birding outdoors. The flashlight will help you find your way back home in the dark.
GPS – the global positioning system is a great device to inform you where you have been and where you are going. In this case, you will never be lost even if you are in the midst of the jungle. So, keep your worries away by equipping yourself with a GPS.
Compass – if you can’t afford for the expensive GPS, you can get yourself a compass instead. This tool is a must-have for any outdoor activity.
Birding apps – most, if not all, own a smart phone. So, take advantage of the available birding apps. These applications will help you identify a bird via image or search functions. The apps would narrow down the category for you by identifying the shape and size of the bird until you identify the bird that you just saw. Birding apps are helpful in bird identification.
The items in the list are essential in birding, so equip yourself with it. Once you have it, you’ll be ready to explore outdoors and enjoy bird watching. Do you have any addition for the list? Share it with us.