|As we travel around, we've become more and more intrigued by the different bird species, and the behavior of individual birds, that we encounter. Our skill at identification is slowly improving - by both eye and ear. Here are some things we've learned as beginning birders.
- Buy a lighweight pair of reasonably good binoculars to have at the ready at all times.
- Take your binoculars with you wherever you go - when camping, we even take them with us when we go to the bath house. You never know what you'll see.
- Carry a small field guide with you wherever you go to help with identification.
- Before you take note of plumage, first, notice a bird's size and shape , its behavior, and the habitat it's in. After a while that may be all you need for a close identification.
- Listen to bird calls and songs on a CD and practice identifying birds by their voice.
- Better yet, put them all into an iPod that you carry around with you.
- When you hear someone singing, repeat the song over and over to yourself, then listen to some recorded songs and try to identify likely candidates.
- When you hear a singer, grab the binoculars and track the him/her down for a visual identification while it is singing.
- Read often about birds and bird behavior. The wonder and mystery of these small creatures will open your heart to the magic of life.
- In your backyard, keep a bird bath full of clean water.
- Assume you've made an identification until you're sure of it.
- Come to a certain identification without checking all of the following: size; shape; behavior; field marks; habitat; and range; and (if possible) song.
- Disturb birds that are feeding, especially during migration.
- Forget to regularly look up to find birds: flying, soaring, or perched on high places.
- By all means, keep track of what you see, and where, as best fits for you - but don't become a combat birder.
- Fail to keep track of where the birds are, and what they're doing, at and near the various places you travel.
- Feed birds unless you're aware of how this might affect their normal migratory behavior.
- Stress birds by deliberately flushing them.
- Walk in front of the leader when you go on a group birding trip.
Bill Dillon (KG4QFM)
Pat Watt (KG4QFQ)
This page was last modified on
August 9, 2009
Copyright 2005 The Trouser Rollers. All Rights Reserved.