Bird Watching Basics

Beginning Birding: What you need to Get Started

To simply regurgitate a number of birding commandments right now would be an altogether dull exercise. So, instead of a banal tutorial, let us briefly discuss some of the “must-have” tools for any birder wanting get out and explore, despite their level of expertise.

It would indeed be remiss of me not to recommend David Allen Sibley’s Birding Basics, one of the most popular beginner’s manuals of it’s kind, or another work of that variety that covers the rudiments of birding to an equal effect.

In this beginner’s guide, or most any for that matter, topics like finding birds, bird identification and misidentification, taxonomy and song, and more are covered in a sufficient manner, and I invite birders of all levels to acquire and read the aforementioned literature. Apart from that invitation, there are a few basics held within the pages of all beginner guides worthy of some attention here and now.

For instance, in order to become an astute visual and auditory bird identifier, studying images and illustrations as well as listening to recordings of birdsongs is of fundamental importance.

Becoming aware of the species located in the relative vicinity of your home, too, is a great start. By whittle down and focusing in on the potential species that occur in your area initially, an otherwise daunting list of birds to study becomes slightly more manageable.

The sooner you get outside and into the bird’s world, the sooner you will acquire a sharp eye for distinguishing the details. Studying the details via literature and studying them through direct experience are two different things, and though necessary, neither is sufficiently edifying on it’s own.

Before you take to the parks or woods, though, there are a few tools integral to birding activity you would like to get you hands on.

Of course, having a field guide with you is necessary for everyone, save for the most elite birders out there. As well, keeping a field notebook on hand is wise. Hearing a new bird call and tracking out the phonetic pattern of trills on paper in real-time, or making quick sketches of an unidentifiable bird both make it easier to reference later. And if you want to get a little fancier, “Rite-in-the-Rain” all-weather writing paper notebooks are especially good to have in the event of inclement weather conditions.

Binoculars or a scope are invaluable. Need I say more? Most birders that dare to stray beyond their backyard feeder know this. Unfortunately, using binoculars or a scope once makes it rather difficult to go bird watching without them. And while a camera seems to fall very much under these same terms, it comes in a close second behind binoculars in my opinion. Depending on the individual, some of these things may seem not seem compulsory; but, compulsory or not, having them is conducive to a fuller, more enjoyable experience of the birds nonetheless.

All in all, equipped with the right gear or not, a zest for learning and birding are the most important factors in becoming a birding-great.

About the Author: Chantelle Simoes owns an online birding supply store called and is a birding enthusiast. YourBirdOasis will help you transform your garden into your own bird oasis with a variety of beautiful Bird Baths, Bird Feeders, , and Bird Houses. With artistic Copper Bird Baths  and Decorative Bird Feeders at your convenience, you can add a unique touch to your garden and create a haven for the birds in your area.