If this is your first venture into the world of bird watching, or you’re a seasoned veteran, this guide will serve as your go-to checklist.
If a water bottle isn’t one of the first things on your list, it should be! If you’re living in a dryer climate, you may not notice how much water you’re losing while outdoors. Even in more humid environments, if you don’t actively pay attention to your water intake, you may not realize you’re dehydrated until it’s too late. Always pack a water bottle (or two) when going on any outdoor adventure.
Bringing a light snack is an option, but proceed with caution. Food might attract the wrong kind of attention from wildlife like squirrels and chipmunks, and if you do get attention from wild birds, don’t offer them any food you brought for yourself. Bread doesn’t supply much nutritional value for birds, and too much sugar in a bird’s diet can lead to major health problems.
If you’re a beginner it may be tempting to go for a cheaper pair since you’re just starting out, but that choice may end up forcing you into early bird watching retirement. Having a decent pair of binoculars will ensure you don’t miss their detailed behavior or tiny differences in plumage that can differentiate one species from another. Do yourself a favor and invest in some quality gear, or better yet borrow from a friend.
3. Bird Watching Book (Or Application)
A good step to take before stepping foot outside is to research what native wildlife lives in your area. A good resource will be to have plenty of photos and tips on where to look. (Don’t get caught looking at the treetops only to find out that your bird spends most of its time on the forest floor!)
In the digital age there are countless online resources ranging from websites, blogs, online forums, and even apps. Finding an online community to share stories or photos of wildlife you spotted on your latest outing is a great way to really immerse yourself in this hobby. Speaking of photos...
Having a good camera will help you save memories of fun outings you’ve had and gives you a record of some of your more rare and fun spots. If you’re more interested in the behavior of the birds you’re watching over still life photos, and even better way to document your spots is to record a short video. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, is a video worth a million?
Looks like you're all set! There’s always more to learn in the bird watching hobby, but with these basic tools you’ll be more than prepared for your next outing. Happy birding!