Interested bird watching but have not been before? Have no fear! The Wildbeaks team has put together this quick list of simple, but effective bird watching techniques for those just starting on their birding journey.
Before you wander into the forest looking for the most colorful winged creature in the skies we should remember that we are walking into their territory. Make sure to bring water, leave enough daylight to get back home and remember to respect their habitat. It is also a good idea to study the birds that are native to the region that you will be visiting. Doing a small bit of homework will help you identify a bird by its color, song or other distinctive features.
When arriving to the forest or wooded area that you will be observing birds make sure you double check your supplies! Binoculars, water and proper clothing all help in being comfortable and enjoying your adventure.
Let the fun begin! Below are tips to capturing the most data about your find and how to document your discovery.
Look at the bird, not your guide. This is where the homework you did will help! Record as much information mentally as you can before flipping through a guide to try to identify the bird. Taking your eye away from these creatures could cause you to lose sight of the bird. They move fast and frequently!
Binoculars help you get a good look. With a good set of binoculars you will be able to spot the birds that are high in the tree tops. This also makes accurately noting the size and shape of body, beak and color of feathers a breeze. Learning the call of birds in your area will also help to point you in the right direction. You can find a collection of bird call CDs on our website.
Try your hand at sketching. Before moving on to the next subject, try to sketch the species that you identified. If drawing is not your forte then include all the details of the weather, what the bird was doing and how many there were. Write your observations in a notebook or journal specifically for birding.
On your return trip home. Make sure you leave enough light for your return to the car or your home. Being out in the woods at night can be disorienting even with a proper flashlight. Also be aware of changing temperatures and bring the proper clothing.
We hope that after your first trip you will be hooked! For times when you are not in the woods there are plenty of resources that you can utilize to prepare for your next adventure. There are a myriad of books, videos and local birding clubs that would be more than happy to help out a fellow birder. Happy Birding!