Going outside for a bit of birding? Planning some birding for the weekend? Do you think you are ready?
Well, to make sure you are, here are some of the things you should get through first.
Studying is part of every learning process.
Before anything else:
- Do some research and decide how much you plan on spending on equipment;
- Invest money and time in a field guide;
- Download applications to help you get familiar with the birds;
- Study the areas around you where you could start from;
- Make sure you have proper clothing for this activity/hobby;
- Challenge friends/relatives to join you;
- Look for people or groups in social media that could help you with some extra tips and identification;
- Dive in some study.
Right before going to the field:
- Check weather conditions;
- Check access to the location/area you are planning to visit;
- Assure you don’t forget the equipment needed;
- Never leave without a notebook and a field guide;
- Take water and some snacks with you;
- Consider some extra items for your safety, like sunscreen, hat, scarf, etc.;
- Inform relatives or friends where you are going;
- Hope on comfortable clothes.
Essential equipment for birdwatching.
During the birding:
- Respect the ethics and birdwatcher’s codes;
- Make sure you stay in the allowed paths and don’t step wildflowers;
- Avoid disturbing birds and their habitats – the birds’ interests should always come first;
- Respect other wildlife and other birdwatchers;
- Leave no trace, take only pictures;
- Know the law and respect the rules;
- Write down all the information about your day/visit (location, weather, date and time);
- Use your notebook or your bird journal to write down every detail you may consider important for each observation.
Follow the rules and respect signals.
- Go through your notes and photos, and make sure they are all explicit;
- (Re)write all your notes in your birdwatching journal (Buy one now);
- Share the experience with family/friends;
- If comfortable, update your observations on online platforms (iNaturalist, E-bird, etc.);
- Clean up your gear and especially your shoes, avoiding the spread of invasive species, bacteria or viruses to the next place (habitat) you are going.