Bird Watching Basics

Are you interested in bird watching? The art of bird watching can indeed become addicting. Here’s a list of what you’ll need to get started.

1. Binoculars. You’re going to need a good pair of binoculars. End of story. Seeing a beautiful and or rare bird from afar just won’t do it justice.

It’s like looking at the moon. Once you view the moon through a powerful telescope, you’ll be able to see the moon in all of it’s glory. The details and characteristics of the moon will leave you dumbfounded, and you’ll never see the moon the same way again.

That’s the same as bird watching. Seeing these beautiful creatures up close is spectacular and will elevate your bird watching experience to level 1000!

Nowadays, phenomenal binoculars have turned out to be accessible at shockingly low costs. Websites like have great values on name brand binoculars.

Get a pair of binoculars that have 7x or 8x power magnification and a medium to larger size lens so you can view the birds and the background together.

A smaller pair of binoculars is good too for on the go viewing and just to have on you, in case you only have a few seconds to grab it and view the bird before it flies away.

Two really good models for starting birders are Nikon Monarchs and Leupold Yosemites (particularly for the younger bird watchers). Again, get something that’s 7-power or 8-control binoculars

2. Field Guide. You’re going to need a field guide. Since you’re going to be starting off in your own backyard, then you might as well start off on the right foot. Getting a field guide will be your Bible when it comes to bird watching. how else are you going to know what you’re looking at?

Here are some recommendations.

  • Sibley Guide (Has a full North America or two smaller guides broken down into the Eastern and Western North American guides).
  • Kaufman’s
  • Peterson’s
  • National Geographic guide
  • Crossley’s
  • All About Birds website

Now keep in mind that we’re also assuming that you’ve been doing your research online and have visited many bird watching sites. But using your mobile while bird watching isn’t as useful as the field guides in our opinion when you’re outside on the go.

A good website to check out that also has bird cams is

3. Front or Back yard bird feeders. At this stage, you’ll want to get a bird feeder to attract the local birds. Grad some bird food while you’re at it so the birds have a reason to zero in on it… and come back for more.

Don’t just stop at bird seeds, you’ll want to add some variety like live bait mealworms and even some fruit. Different strokes for different folks philosophy here.

4. Spotting scope. I you really want to elevate your bird watching game, then get a spotting scope which will magnify your view by 20x to 60x zoom. This is like having a mobile hand held high powered telescope in the palm of your hand. is again, a great place to shop for a bird watching spotting scope.

Check out the trailer for the bird watching movie The Big Year

5. Camera. If this digital world, everyone uses their mobile phone to snap photos. And while that is a great option, it just won’t do justice when you compare it to binoculars that can take digital photos or a good dslr camera with a nice zoom lens.

In fact, if you ore just starting out and are on a budget, and you have a good dslr camera with a nice zoom lens then you can pretty much do away with getting a spotting scope.

The spotting scope is convenient, but the dslr with a nice lens will do just fine. Just make sure you carry extra batteries if you’ll be out for a good amount of time watching birds.

Canon and Nikons are the two most popular dslr brands with changeable lenses.

6. Keeping a record. There are thousands and thousands of different species of birds so keeping a record is the only way to know what you’ve seen and what you still need to erase off your bird bucket list.

You still have the rest of your life and many more years to rapidly check off these beautiful from your list.

So, whatever way is best for you to keep good records on what birds you’ve seen and to have a MUST SEE list of birds you just gotta see before you leave this planet.