The more time you spend in nature, the more animals you will see. When a little bird with a vivid blue mohawk flies by, you’ll be resting at the campsite, listening to the stream and watching deer graze in a neighboring meadow. You didn’t get a good look since it happened so quickly, but that blue will stick with you until you go home and can look it up on the Internet.
A big raptor with a three-foot wingspan and a scarlet tail glides above later. You suddenly desire to learn more about birds. You want to learn how to recognize birds as well as their habitat and migratory patterns. You want to sing their song and locate them, but you’re not sure how.
Birding is an excellent way to interact with nature while camping. And with so many different species, there’s always something new to discover.
To get started with bird watching, there are a few basic steps you may take.
Purchase a birding guide or field book beforehand. The Field Guide to the Birds of North America by National Geographic is an excellent book for beginning birders. Look for booklets and local field guides at the ranger station in your region or destination. Any field guide will teach you what to look for, how to identify birds and give more information about what you’re seeing.
Bird Watching Binoculars
You’ll want to take a closer look now that you have the facts and field guide to assist you to identify the birds. Binoculars are available in a variety of designs, sizes, and pricing ranges. Find a pair that will meet your demands without breaking the cash, depending on your degree of interest.
Consider the intended usage of the binoculars: if you expect to go on long bird-watching walks, a lighter, more portable pair may be preferable. Climate and time of day are more factors to consider. According to Birding-Binoculars.net, amateurs should spend between $100 and $200 on their first pair and then improve as their interest develops and evolves.
Nikon produces a lightweight, waterproof, and reasonably priced pair called the Trailblazer (8×25). They cost about $90 and can be found online or at REI. If you want to wear them on long excursions, update the strap to one that relieves strain on your neck. A Vortex Binocular Harness, for example, costs about $20.
The Bird-Watching Secret
Most of the time, you’ll hear a bird before you see it, and sometimes you won’t see it at all.
There are several online tools and CDs available to help you learn birdcalls, but apps are becoming an increasingly popular tool among birders. The newest version, the iBird Explorer Pro, can recognise a bird sound if you hold your phone up to it. Furthermore, it eliminates the need for guessing in identification. Enter information about your location, the shape and size of the bird, and the environment, and iBird will help you narrow down your options.
On the Job
When you arrive at your birding location or campsite, inquire about birding excursions with the local ranger station or naturalist. Often, these are free excursions that you may sign up for, or you can join more intensive birding expeditions.
Also, look for local bird groups in your region. You’ll learn more rapidly and have a group to share your interest with if you go birding with a group, and preferably with an informed guide.
Buy a diary and start taking notes if you want to become more serious about birding. After viewing the bird, make a few notes, such as:
The bird’s general size and form
Characteristics of the face and beak
Colors and marks that stand out
Size and form of the wings
Patterns of flight
You should also record the location, habitat, and, of course, the bird’s cry.
Plan your next camping trip to a birding hotspot around migratory patterns. A little research, researching, and preparing ahead of time for your next birding vacation will help you optimise your knowledge and experience.