Birding is a hobby concerned with the observation and study of birds (the science proper is termed ornithology). The term “birding” is of American origin; “birdwatching” is (or more correctly, was) the commonly used word in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
It is frequently said that birding is observing wild birds for pleasure, birdwatching is amateur study of birds, and twitching is seeing rare birds to accumulate a long list of species seen worldwide or in some given area.
Equipment commonly used for birding includes binoculars and a telescope or spotting scope with tripod, a notepad, and one or more field guides. Twitchers will also have a mobile phone and a pager in order to keep constantly informed of rare bird sightings. Knowledge of the weather is also important, since the right winds can lead to drift migration.
The following are just of the helpful tips that can help you in your very first bird watching session:
– Always keep on eye on one bird. Bird watching is more effective if one uses a binocular. When you are bird watching, try to spot only one bird that catches your attention. Once you have seen one, never take your eyes off it because it might fly to a place where you cannot see it.
In most bird watching centers, beginners are given a field guide in a form of a booklet or brochure so they can identify the bird once they have seen one. Once you know what is it, take time to observe its physical details as well as its behaviors and mannerisms. Make sure that you observe the bird’s movements, markings, feeding habits, songs, color, and size so you can easily identify it the next time you see it.
– Make sure that you listen intently for the bird’s calls and song. Although listening for a bird’s song is easy, it doesn’t stay long in a person’s memory. What you should do is to listen intently when the bird calls or sings and play the bird’s song in your mind repetitively. Listening to a bird’s call and song is important because it can help you identify the bird even without seeing it.
– Take time to estimate the bird’s shape and general size. The average shape and size of the bird will give you a huge clue in finding out the family it came from. In bird watching, make sure that you assess its overall appearance and take note of its approximate size and shape. Once you can tell from the size and shape of the bird what kind is it, then you are doing good.
– Pay attention to the bill characteristics and facial markings of the bird in sight. This is one of the hardest things to do because the average of almost all birds are small. They also keep on moving so it will be hard to take note any unique markings on their faces. It is also equally hard to take note of characteristics of its bills because most birds keep on pecking all the time.
To get these details, spot a bird that doesn’t fly around that much. Once you found one, start observing it head by looking for any distinguishing hue patches or color strips. These can be present in their eye lines, crowns, napes, and arcs or in the rings.