If you are a new bird watcher, then you may be confused about the terminology between bird watching, birding and ornithology. Let’s start with a brief explanation of all three.
What Is Bird Watching?
It is simply listening to or watching birds wherever you are. Inside your house, driving, walking in a park or hiking.
If you are noticing birdlife and enjoying their splendor, then you are bird watching.
What Is Birding?
Some people refer to “birding”, as an activity only practiced by “serious” bird watchers who go out into the field to observe birds.
I believe anyone who is watching birds in their yard or out in the field, are birding”. People can practice their love of birdlife anywhere they like.
Some people may physically not be able to go out into nature to observe birds. But they may regularly watch birds that visit their outdoor space with much relish.
I will add in a term here, I believe to be mainly used in the UK:
Here is a definition of twitcher from Audubon.org’s dictionary:
We have avid bird chasers like that here in North America but the term twitcher has not caught on.
What Is An Ornithologist?
There are conflicting views on what an ornithologist is.
Myself, I have always thought an ornithologist had to have studied birds in an accredited university and achieved a doctorate degree.
But after some research on what an ornithologist is, not everyone would agree.
What Do You Need To Get Started In Bird Watching?
All you need is to look and listen. But if you want a longer and closer look then there are other things you can do to reach that goal.
For bird watching in your outdoor space, then some plant life, (trees, shrubbery or flowers) is all you need and birds will visit your yard.
And even if your yard does not have trees or bushes you will likely be able to attract birds.
The first thing you can do is erect a bird feeder on a pole. Then create a perching spot by attaching a branch to a fence or pole works well, within ten feet of the feeder.
If there are no trees within 20 feet of your feeder then a pile of brush will serve as a place for birds to take refuge to hide from predators and for rest, while they wait their turn at your feeder.
There are numerous types of wild bird feeders that will hold different types of food and attract many species of birds.
There are many other things you can do to draw birds up close, like adding a bird bath or bird house.
If you don’t have a yard, then a bird watching club will be helpful in locating the best bird watching spots.
But any local park will have wild birds inhabiting its grounds that you can enjoy watching.
Bird Watching Supplies
Bird watching does not have to be an expensive hobby. Just a little food on your window ledge or taking a walk, will provide ample opportunities for viewing wild birds.
If you attract birds up close with food, then you will not even need binoculars. But, if you want a closer look, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get enough magnification to aid in seeing birds more clearly.
A field guide will also help for identifying the wild birds you are seeing. This again does not have to be costly. And both binoculars and ID material will last for many years.
Here is a list of items you may want to consider if you decide you want to go on bird watching expeditions that require hiking short or long distances.
List Of Bird Watching Supplies
This list are items to consider:
- You will need good walking shoes
- a hat
- clothing that is appropriate for the weather you will meet that day
- a compact, light-weight rain coat will be handy
- snacks and/or meals depending on how long you plan to be on your birding expedition
- A first aid kit will come in handy if you develop blisters from your foot wear or need a bandage for a cut.
- bird guide – in book form or software
- note pad or bird diary & pencil and/or pen
- comfortable backpack
- A pair of bird watching binoculars, or bird watching scopes
- By purchasing a digital camera binocular, you would not have to carry a camera and a pair of binoculars
- Bird Watching Cameras
More Help To Attract & Watch Birds
- 3 Top Tips To Attract Birds Fast Use these best methods to entice wild birds. They cannot resist coming to your backyard bird friendly space if you do.
- Choosing Birding Binos Selecting birding binoculars is an important decision. There are a lot of considerations to be explored when purchasing the best binoculars for your wild bird watching pleasure.
- Compact Binoculars Compact binoculars with their high-quality optics offer excellent edge-to-edge contrast and sharpness. Read this enlightening review.
- Bird Watching Binoculars Bird watching binoculars are assumed by many people to be expensive and difficult to use. However, the contrary is true. They can be a terrific asset to the backyard bird watcher.
- Backyard Bird Photography Tips by professional photographer Sandra Rust. Learn hot to take great photos of your favourite birds.
- Best Birdlife Webcams Having a webcam setup to take those moments at your bird feeder or bird bath that you can’t always be around to see are exciting. Four of the best here.
- Bird Watching Club A bird watching club can be a very enjoyable and helpful group to belong to. Many clubs provide group activities and many more benefits such as…
- Unusual Bird Sighting Occasionally unusual birds arrive at our backyard bird feeders. These birds often delight us and these sighting is no exception.
- Migration Flyways There are a number of major migration flyways around the world, lets have a look at your proximity to these avian paths.
- Thayer Birding Software Review This birding software would make an excellent gift for anyone who is interested in bird watching or nature in general.
- Bird Watching is simply listening to or watching birds wherever you are, inside your house, driving, walking in a park or hiking the wild. Learn how.