Bird Watching Tips

Read these 5 Bird Watching Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Adventure Travel tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How do I use a bird guide book to plan my birding vacation?

Using A Bird Guide Book

If you are going to go bird watching away from your usual haunts, it is essential to have a bird guide book that covers the area you plan to visit. Study the guide prior to your bird watching holiday or better still, before you leave on your bird watching vacation.

Once you are familiar with the species recorded in the area and during the season you are on your trip, it will help make identification of a particular species much easier.

If you are new to bird watching, pay special attention to the color, size, shape, and wing markings. Also, take special note of any characteristic behaviors or flight patterns of birds you expect to see.

What's the best way to keep a bird watching journal?

Keeping A Bird Watching Journal

Many bird watchers like to keep a "life list" of the birds they have seen on bird watching holidays. But if you're serious about bird watching, a checkmark on a list is almost useless for scientific purposes.

Instead, keep a field notebook or bird watching journal. When you go birding, write down which birds you see, where and when you see them, and what the birds are doing. Many years from now, your vacation memories could become scientific treasure.

What kind of binculars should I buy for bird watching?

Buying Binoculars for Birding

When you shop for binoculars for wildlife adventure travel and birding, you'll notice that they are described as "8x25" or "10x35".

The first number is the magnification of the binoculars, so 8x means it magnifies an image by a factor of eight. The second number is the width, in milimeters, of the front or "objective" lenses.

The larger the binoculars are, the more light the binoculars can take in.

For birding, it's best to stick with 8x or 10x magnification. Higher magnification also magnifies the tremors in one's hands and the result is a shakey image. Another item to look for is what's called "eye relief", which refers to the distance your eyes need to be from the eyepiece.

* If you wear glasses, ask your dealer for binoculars with a "long eye relief"; at least 15mm.

Will I see familiar birds on my bird watching vacation?

Bird Migration

Sometimes a bird watcher will see familiar friends if travelling to Central or South America for a birding holiday.

* The golden plover breeds in North America, but flies over 2,400 miles to winter in South America.
* The artic tern flies over 10,000 miles during their migrations.

Many birds that live in tropical climates also migrate briefly to the north, spending just a few months out of the year before returning. If you are an avid bird watcher, try to plan your trip according to the migration of a specific species. See your old friend in their summer or winter home!

How do I use my binoculars for bird watching?

Using Binoculars for Bird Watching

No bird watching or wild life vacations should be undertaken without a pair of binoculars, but learning to do birding with them takes a little practice.

The secret is to square yourself up to the bird. Your whole body, including your feet, should turn to face the bird. It won't work if you turn just your head. Raise your head so that you're looking straight at the bird. Your whole head should tilt up to face the bird -- not just your eyes looking up.

Now put your binoculars squarely in front your eyes. You'll find you're looking right at the bird. Practice this technique consciously for a while. It will soon become automatic.

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Guru Spotlight
Kelley Diekman