Birdwatching takes you outdoors to relax and appreciate the beauty of nature. See photos of common backyard birds and information about them at wild-bird-watching.com.
Birdwatching keeps minds active and perceptive. The Harvard Business Review reports that it stimulates observation abilities and quick pattern recognition. It’s also provides interesting social connections. Social groups exist all over the country. On the Internet, birders connect with others and locate organizations, field trips and bird-watching vacations. Birding.com serves as a directory for organizations and hot spots for birding around the states and the world.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology runs birdsource.org, and in cooperation with Bird Studies Canada, they also operate Project Feeder Watch, a survey of backyard birds. 15,000 volunteers across the continent keep records of birds in their backyard feeders from November to April. Many states connect with each other, trading sightings and photos. The Colorado bird community celebrated when New York reported a noteworthy sighting of a rare streak-backed oriole. Other states, including Minnesota, closely monitor the migration patterns of local birds.
Specialized organizations follow certain species. The Purple Martin followers offer help on caring for these fascinating birds, which are dependent on humans to provide housing and protection. In addition, allaboutbirds.org covers many species.
Volunteers at the North American Breeding Bird Survey have conducted the Christmas Bird Count, run by the National Audubon Society, since 1900. Join at refugewatch.org. Various surveys note climate change as birds appear in unexpected places or times. Diligent amateurs since Thoreau have created valuable records which scientists can use to study long term trends.
Urban environments are surprisingly filled with bird watchers too. The New York City Audubon offers classes and field trips. Central Park is a key spot as an oasis of food, water and vegetation. Mr. Peter Mott, the president, told the New York Times that of the estimated 700 different species of birds regularly found in the United States, over 275 species can be observed in the park and 32 species breed there annually. It’s also a stopover for migration. The famous Manhattan birds, Pale Male and Lola, are red-tailed hawks that continued to nest in a Fifth Avenue apartment house after passionate advocates fought their eviction. Charlotte and Pale Male, Jr. live nearby at the Trump Parc building.
Joe Sweeney of the Rancho La Puerto spa in Mexico leads popular bird walks and recommends these steps to becoming a birdwatcher.
- Use binoculars (he recommends Nikon Action 7×35’s)
- Study a bird book (he recommends Sibley’s field guides)
- Go on a bird walk with the Audubon Society or another group.
- Carry a laminated chart of birds in your area
- Buy tapes or CD’s of bird calls and songs (there is even an APP for the iphone)
One more important step – put up bird feeders to hang close to a window. But do some research first, as they are quite specialized to attract different species.
Here’s information which we think is especially useful BestBinoculars at Amazon.com.