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If you’re looking for a hobby that is free, doesn’t require a lot of gear, can be done anywhere and is something anyone can do, consider bird watching.
Americans may love our sports, but did you know that birdwatching is so popular that almost 16 million people participate in the hobby of birdwatching annually?
Are you surprised? I am! But let’s think about this for a minute.
Birds are everywhere.
You can bird watch from the comfort of your backyard, it’s an activity anyone can enjoy and it’s free!
When it comes to choosing a new hobby, it doesn’t get any better.
I admit that I’m new to bird watching but find it to be a perfect activity for my husband while he’s recovering from a spinal fusion. I hate to admit it, but I may be a bit more interested than he is.
Here are my top five tips to help you get started bird watching.
* This post does contain affiliate links.
Grab a Checklist
If you want to get serious about bird watching, you need to know what birds you’re actually seeing.
Before you head out, download this free app from Audubon. The app is available for iPhones and Android phones.
The app allows you to identify the birds you see, track them, learn more about them and share photos.
Know Where to Look
This may sound overly simplistic and I’ve already established that you can find birds in your own backyard but hear me out.
The key to checking off those birds on your bird list is to know where to find the varieties that you don’t often see at home.
You can find out when birds are on the move by checking out the migration schedule with this live migration map.
When traveling, seek out state and national parks as well as a wildlife refuge. Did you know that you’ll find over 500 National Wildlife Refuges in the United States? You’ll find at least one in each state.
Know What Species to Expect.
The United States is home to about 900 species of birds. Even the most experienced bird watcher would be hard pressed to identify half of them.
When planning to visit a new area, do a bit of research so you know what you’re looking for and the types of birds you’re likely to find at that time of year.
With a bit of preparation, you’ll be better prepared to identify one bird species from another. Don’t forget to keep track of what you see on your app!
Invest in the Best Pair of Binoculars You Can Afford.
You may be tempted to skip this purchase but having a decent pair of binoculars can be the difference between a fruitful day of bird watching and time wasted because your binoculars stink.
Invest in the best pair of binoculars that you can afford. Ideally, that will be a pair with image stabilization, anti-fogging, low-light viewing, and wide-view characteristics. This is a great pair of binoculars for those just starting.
Did you know you can even purchase binoculars with built-in digital cameras? This will enable you to identify the birds you see once you get home.
If you’re brand new to bird watching, you may want to try it a few times before laying down the big bucks but keep in mind as you continue, the benefits will enhance your bird watching and far outweigh the cost.
Take Someone with You.
I’m a huge fan of making memories with other people- whether that is my kids, my husband or a friend. Find someone who may enjoy it or is open to trying something new and go bird watching together.
Not only are you able to enjoy the great outdoors with someone you like, but it will be fun to have someone to share your birding experiences with.
The best part about bird watching is that you can do it anytime, from nearly anywhere.
Have you tried bird watching or are you just getting started?
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