If you are a birdwatcher you have probably wondered where could you learn more about places to go for birding.
Of course, that one option is simply to go and explore. However, if you have little time to dedicate to birdwatching or if you are chasing specific goals/species, that cannot always be the option.
So, even though you can ask for suggestions from other birders or on Social Media platforms (which by the way we encourage you to check the Facebook group we created for this effect - Connecting Birdwatchers), one of the most practical options is to search the internet for places or areas that are worth a visit.
And that’s where birding hotspots come in handy. Thus, let’s clarify what a birding hotspot is/mean. Basically, these hotspots are nothing more than suggested places by other birdwatchers. And the idea is essentially that. Although with other advantages that we are going to see below.
This might seem obvious, but an important thing you need to keep in mind regarding birding hotspots is that you don’t have to birdwatch exclusively in those hotspots. They are not mandatory places you have to use/visit, they are only places that other people have visited and suggested throughout the time.
This means that you can observe birds in an area or piece of land that doesn’t have a hotspot on those platforms. And that’s perfectly fine! As long as you follow the birdwatcher codes (see our post about it here), you can enjoy birdwatching anywhere, regardless it is a birding hotspot or not.
Afterwards, you can keep that place as your private hotspot or suggest it on those websites for other people to enjoy a similar experience to yours.
Salinas del Carmen - Birding hotspot in Fuerteventura Island
So, why are birding hotspots important?
Firstly, having public shared places for bird observation will make things easier for you. Especially if you are a beginner, living in a new place, or on a birding trip aiming at specific bird species. Visiting some of the websites with the birding hotspots will save you time while searching for a good place and may help you to get your target species.
Secondly, the observations can help to gather important information about the species, such as population numbers and distribution areas, for example. That information will be not only useful for birdwatchers but, especially, for science.
Then, another reason these hotspots can be important is that they concentrate most observers in specific locations, even if not there at the same time. This can help to avoid human pressure on other natural areas. And if we see it from another perspective, efforts from different entities, depending on the area/country, can be made to preserve those hotspots and even improve them including shelters, information panels, etc.
Where can I search for birding hotspots?
Now, we are presenting you with two online options where you can search for birding spots.
The first one is Find a Birdingplace, a web platform with several suggested places for birdwatching in the Western Palearctic Region. The navigation is easy and each place has useful information about the main habitats, target species, access and best time to visit, among other details you are ought to know. We invite you to explore the website by clicking on the legend of the picture below.
The main appearance of the platform “Find a Birdingplace”.
The second option we recommend is the fairly known eBird platform, an online website collecting information from birdwatchers worldwide. Its work and volunteering contribution of the birders is crucial for many bird scientific studies.
The main appearance of the hotspots map on eBird.
Despite looking complex, eBird is quite easy to use and the explore section is very intuitive - click in the legend above to go to the website. In that section of the eBird website, you can search by species or regions. And once on a hotspot page, you will see the last bird species seen, may access the lists submitted by other birders and view the illustrated checklist, which will give you the annual frequency of all the species reported for that location.
A zoom-in on the eBird’s hotspot map using satellite view.
Hope you found something useful in this article, and in case this information was new for you, be our guest and go exploring the websites. If you have any doubts or questions, feel free to reach us. We would be pleased to help you out.