Getting Started with Bird Watching - Top Tips

National Nest Book Week starts in just a few days. So if you need to prepare yourself for the big event, you will probably want to know the best tips for bird watching in your local area.

Bird watching requires a lot of skill if you want to be good at it. Although there is sometimes frustration involved when it comes to spotting and identifying species of birds, there are a lot of rewards to be had too.

Keep reading our guide on how to be a successful bird watcher and you might find those rewards easier to come by than you first thought…

Before you Begin

  • Before you set out on your bird watching quest, do a bit of research first. You could start by becoming more familiar with different species by learning the names of different parts of a bird’s body. This will help when you get round to making notes about the birds you have seen.
  • Get yourself a notebook and a good pair of binoculars. These are essential items for a bird watcher.
  • Tips for Getting Started

  • When you’re ready to do some bird spotting, make sure to keep your ears as well as your eyes open. Sometimes you will hear a bird before you see it, so try and familiarise yourself with its call.
  • Find out which birds are in your local area just by walking around and looking. Getting used to seeing common birds will help you spot unusual looking birds easier.
  • Bird Spotting Tips

  • While you are out birdwatching, it is good to take notes and make sketches of what you find. Scribble down the details of the colours and patterns you find on the bird, where you saw it and what its behaviour was like. You can use these details for reference later.
  • Make sure that you keep your binoculars on you as much as possible, out of their case and attached securely to you. You never know when you might spot a feathered visitor in the sky!
  • When looking through your binoculars, there is a certain technique that should be used. When you spot a bird, keep your eye on it and don’t look down at the binoculars. Instead, raise the binoculars to your eyes and quickly adjust the focusing wheel for a sharp image. Experienced bird watchers will have a knack for this but if you’re just starting out, give it time and you will get the hang of it.
  • If you decide to go a little further out and watch birds in the open country, a telescope and tripod would both be very handy. Using a telescope will help you identify species of birds at long range.
  • Remember to avoid sudden movements and wear clothes that don’t make any loud rustling sounds that could scare the birds off. Don’t talk or whisper near the birds and if possible, camouflage yourself against your surroundings.
  • If you really want to identify the birds visiting your garden, learn a few bird calls. You can find CDs with lots of different bird calls for you to practice listening.
  • If you want to learn more about bird watching, a good idea is to find a birdwatching group in your area. You can find out lots of useful tips and tricks from experienced birdwatchers and maybe even share a few you learn along the way! Remember to also let us know what you find via Twitter, Facebook or Google +, or comment in the box below.

    Related articles:

    National Nest Box Week 2015

    How to Make a Bird Cake

    How to Build a Nest Box


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