Birding: 4 Tips to Become a Pro Bird Watcher

Bog birding

1. Study birds so you can easily find them. One way to study is to learn about the habitat a species of bird likes. It’s important to determine where they usually hang out. Do they spend most of their time on a lake, on a tree, or on the ground? What about the songs they sing? Learning their songs is another way to study them. That way, when you hear a certain song or melody, you’ll know what type of bird it is. Begin by studying the melodies of the birds in your yard. Later on, study the songs of other birds in a bigger area. It’s also recommended to check out websites that incorporate the sounds of the birds on pictures.

2. Use guidebooks and use only the necessary equipment. You don’t have to bring a lot of things when you go birdwatching. You probably need four things only: your binoculars, spotting scope, a field guide, and a standard guidebook. You can check out The Sibley Guide to Birds or the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America. If you’re not a booklover, you can download iBird Pro Guide to Birds instead. This app offers photos, bird calls, and a range map as well. The app costs $15, so if you want a free app, check out eBird instead.

3. Take note of your bird sightings. To become a pro, you must be able to keep a journal of the birds you see in your area. It’s important to record their behavior as well and the times you’ve seen them. Mind their habitat and make sure you identify what they usually do. Here are some guide questions to help you:

  • Does it usually stay in trees?
  • Does it dive through the air?
  • Can it swim?
  • Does it wade in shallow water?
  • Does it usually rest on a fence post?
  • Does it love the mud?

Writing down their unique behavior will help you identify them the next time.

4. Follow birding ethics. A pro birdwatcher knows that he must follow the standard birding ethics. That means you shouldn’t do anything that will harm or scare the birds. Never do activities that will stress them out or make them nervous. As a pro, you should also make sure you leave no clue of your presence in the bird habitats you visited.