You need three things to start your bird watching hobby, the first being a good pair of binoculars. The second is a field guide that will help you identify the birds you see. And, the third thing is a journal to log the what, when and where of each sighted bird. Additionally you may also want to purchase a digital camera. It’s a great idea to include photos in your bird watching journal. The great thing about bird watching is that you can start in your own back yard, alone. However, it’s always interesting and fun to share your hobby with like-minded people by joining a bird watching club or expedition.
Backyard Bird Watching
Backyard bird watching is an excellent hobby for the handicapped or elderly, because they can enjoy birds and keep track of them in a journal without having to go too far. However, it’s also wonderful for children and really anyone that has only limited time to give to their bird watching. The most important thing for backyard bird watchers to do is bring the birds in. This can easily be done with bird feeders and bird houses. Put up several birdfeeders, offering various types of food to get the largest variety of bird types.
Most commercial birdseed, or bird feed, packages tell you which kind of birds it is likely to attract. Suet, which is often purchased in blocks that fit into a cage-like container, is good for attracting insect-eating birds. A favorite food for cardinals, finches, chickadees and sparrows is black-oil sunflower seeds. Striped sunflower seeds are a bit tougher to crack open. They are enjoyed mostly by large-billed birds. Cracked corn will attract doves and sparrows. Millet and milo are loved by most birds and are common feeds found in bird food mixes. Don’t forget to offer various locations of water, for both bathing and drinking.
Bird houses should have a hinged door, so they can be cleaned out after use. Most birds won’t use a bird house while the previous tenant’s nest is still in residency. Clean out each birdhouse in the late fall, after the baby birds have flown the coop.
Bird Watching Clubs
After watching birds in your backyard for a while, you may be ready to join a club and discuss your new passion with others. Don’t feel you must be an expert to join. Most clubs readily welcome anyone with an interest in bird watching. A good way to find a bird watching club in your area is to join the Audubon Society. There are over 500 chapters throughout the country. You can also check for clubs in the newspaper ad section, under clubs and organizations. Craigslist is another place to check. Search through your internet search engine for bird watching clubs in your town.
Bird Watching Expeditions
Sign up for a bird watching expedition, locally or out of your area. Perhaps you would like to join others in bird watching for a day in your own area, rather than join a club. This might be a way to see if you would actually like the camaraderie of a club atmosphere. There are plenty of bird watching expeditions in exotic places also, such as Mexico, Cost Rica, Ecuador, Belize and so many other locations. This is a great way to take a dream vacation, while incorporating your new passion for bird watching into your leisure time.
Erica Simone currently writes for Viamedic.com, an online facilitator for Viagra, Cialis and Levitra online. Erica uses her research scientist skills to cover and uncover big pharma news she shares on the Viamedic Health Articles Section.