Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bird Watching Tips

1.You need a field guide for your area. A field guide is a book with pictures of the birds and tips for identifying them.
2.You need a binocular to see the birds. You will soon discover an ironic fact. The best birders have the best binoculars - even though they can identify a bird 100 yards away by its silhouette. Newcomers with a cheap binocular see a fuzzy ball of feathers and don't have a clue which bird it is.
3.You need to know what to expect in your area. The giant woodpecker you saw in the woods was a Pileated Woodpecker, not an Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Checklists of birds in your area will tell you this. Many State and National parks near you have Checklists of the birds seen in the park.
4.You need to be able to find the birds. To do this, you should learn about the habitat each species of bird prefers. Do they like to spend their time at the top of a tree or on the ground or on a lake?
5.Join a group of other birders. Birders are very friendly and helpful. They are always willing to share their knowledge. We were all beginners once.
6.Try a birding trip or tour. Local bird trips are sometimes advertised in the newspapers. These are often led by park rangers or a local Audubon member.
7.Read about birds. There are many good magazines about birds and birding.
8.Bring the birds to you. You can attract birds to your yard with just a little work. Planting the right flowers will attract hummingbirds. Sunflower seeds will bring lots of new birds to your house.
9.Record your bird sightings. You might want to keep a "diary" or list of the birds you see in your yard. You can also keep a list of birds you see in your town or on your vacation.

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