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Birding for Beginners: How to Identify and Appreciate Common Bird Species

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If you have a curious mind, you’ve probably looked up at the sky, spotted a bird, and wondered what species it may be. Well, you are not the only one. So, if you want to turn this curiosity into a hobby, you have come to the right place.

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This article contains a guide for birding beginners, showcasing all the tools and techniques you need to efficiently identify and appreciate common bird species, from their looks and behavior to their migratory patterns.

Importance of Birding

Birdwatching is a practice that has been around for generations. It is an activity that has captured the hearts of several individuals around the world. There are numerous benefits to this simple yet exciting activity, and here are some of them:

Therapeutic Capabilities

For some, birding is about observing birds and cataloging their species. However, others see it as an escape. It is an opportunity for them to meditate and enjoy nature. The sounds of birds singing and the serene environment may help to reduce anxiety and stress and improve overall mental health.

Conservative and Environmental Benefits

Birding does not only have personal benefits, but it also helps conservationists and environmentalists. As an avid birdwatcher, you observe and document bird species. This data can be beneficial to scientists and can help organizations protect birds and their habitats.

Vital Tools for Birding Beginners

As a birding beginner, you may struggle with determining all the necessary tools for your new hobby. However, the equipment you require is not as complex as you might think. Here are a few things you need to get started.

Binoculars

Binoculars are one of the most important tools to own in your birdwatching escapade. Hence, you need to ensure you invest in a high-quality pair. The best option would be to buy binoculars with a magnification power ranging from 7x to 10x and an objective lens of 42mm in diameter.

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That said, binoculars vary, so you need to test the pair you want to buy and ensure they feel comfortable and easy to use. Keep in mind that this is a piece of equipment you will be using often, so you ensure you have no issues with it.

Field Guide

A field guide is essentially an avian encyclopedia, which is why you need a reliable one to help you on your birdwatching venture.

Field guides vary based on region, so opt for one that was created for your region. This guide will contain information and illustrations regarding all local bird species.

You can find field guides in various stores, and they come in both digital and physical formats, giving you a plethora of options.

Mobile Apps

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Thanks to advancements in technology, you no longer have to log around huge documents when birdwatching.

Now, you can download several mobile apps, including digital field guides, to help make your experience more convenient.

Some of these field guides contain extra features, such as user-contributed sightings and birds call recording, but you can also find them as separate apps.

Techniques and Tips for Proper Bird Identification

Now that you know the tools you require to start your birdwatching journey, you need to learn about the techniques to make the experience worth it.

Granted, recognizing birds may be challenging, but in the end, the results are incredibly rewarding. Here are some tips to help hone your identification skills.

Field Marks and Colors Matter

Most in-depth guides on birds talk about the importance of field marks and colors. You can use these specific spots, patterns, stripes, and hues to tell the difference between bird species.

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Furthermore, pay attention to eye rings, tails, wings, and beaks because these are also indicators that help narrow down the species of birds.

Be Patient

Birdwatching requires a lot of patience. Birds are quite elusive, and you might not see them when you want to. Therefore, you need to learn to be patient and observant, ensuring to look out for any movement or feature that stands out.

Educate Yourself

You can easily start birdwatching whenever you want, but it may be best to learn about your new hobby.

Not only will learning help to increase your enthusiasm for your new pastime, but it also allows you to learn more. Start by watching a birding movie or reading a book about birding.

Pay Attention to Form and Posture

You may not always get the perfect view of the bird you are observing. In a case like this, you should pay attention to the form and posture of the bird.

Various species of birds have unique shapes, and using these characteristics as indicators can help make identification easier and more accurate.

Consider Joining a Birdwatching Club

Besides reading books and watching movies, you can learn a lot from experienced birdwatchers, so consider joining a birdwatching club.

By becoming a member of a birdwatching club, you have an opportunity to learn a new skill and socialize with other birding enthusiasts.

Take Advantage of a Bird Bath and Bird Feeder

You do not necessarily have to go into nature to birdwatch. You can do it from the comfort of your backyard.

So, if you have enough space on your property, you can install a bird bath and a bird feeder to attract birds.

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Before installing your bird feeder, research and determine the type of birds you want to attract because different food choices attract different birds. After figuring that out, make sure to buy a feeder that accommodates the kind of food you buy.

Another structure you can install is a bird bath. Birds are always looking for clean water, and having it readily available will attract them. You can take it a step further by including birdhouses in your backyard.

Listen for Bird Calls and Songs

Birds are not only known for their looks. They also have stunning calls and songs that can help you differentiate them.

Listen to their melodies and calls because you can use them to easily recognize these avian beauties. You can find audio recordings of various birds on digital field guides and certain mobile apps.

Conclusion

Birding is an incredibly rewarding hobby that possesses numerous advantages. It not only connects you with nature but also gives you a chance to provide valuable data for research.

One of the best things about birding is that it is not a complex pastime. With a few tools and tips, you can be well on your way to becoming a professional birdwatcher.

Using this article, you have all you need to help you identify and appreciate bird species as a birding beginner.

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