August 15, 2020
Bird Watching Tips for Beginners for a Memorable Experience

Bird watching isn’t just about looking at birds. This serene activity also gives you time to connect with nature, unplug from the stress of everyday life and relax. But before you go bird watching for the first time, there are a few things you need to know.

We have put together a few tips that will make your first bird watching experience a memorable one. Consider them bird watching rules for the beginners, and you’ll do fine. So, let’s get started!

1. Learn to Imitate a Bird Call (Learn pishing)

It would come as a surprise for most, but imitating a bird call does work. It has been tried by some of the best bird enthusiasts in the world. Sometimes, you’ll have done everything right but still might not come across the bird for a day. Times like these call for desperate measures such as imitating a bird call. The most common way to do this is to make small, bird noises that are squeaky noises by kissing the back of your hands.

Another one involves you whispering the word pish through clenched teeth. The sound will be heard by small curious birds who’ll pop in attracted by the sound.

Mastering the bird call, however, is not an easy task. Some can do it effortlessly while others might struggle or might never be able to do it. As a beginner, learning some of these bird watching skills can be helpful and make bird watching a pleasant experience.

2. Pick the Right Spot

The first step to bird watching is getting out of the house and picking the right spot. But don’t spend too much time thinking about where to go, you’ll be able to see a variety of birds ijust from your front yard, although it might be a more worthwhile experience to visit a park, a beach, the countryside or even go on a safari.

One essential thing to remember when you pick a spot is to have the sun behind you so, you can identify birds more easily when you spot them. When a bird is between your eyesight (binoculars) and the sun, sometimes all you’ll be able to spot is a silhouette, which will not help you determine the bird species.

3. Remember, Silence is the Key!

Once you pick the right spot, be silent. Turn off your mobile devices or any alarms you have set. Keep quiet, you might want to scream atthe top of your voice that you’ve seenone of the rarest birds, but that’ll only cut-short your bird sighting. Birds have an acute sense of hearing, and even a slight movement will make them aware of your presence. Thus, if you want to observe them, maintain a respectful silence.

4. Learn About the Birds and Their Habitats

Some birds prefer wetlands, others prefer dessert while some prefer to take to the winds over the sea or are found only in evergreen forest areas. We will share some examples so you can understand how it is a time-saving endeavour to learn about the habitat of birds.

If you expect a wood sandpiper to show up in a desert, you’ll be waiting for a long time. Wood sandpipers prefer the wetlands, which is the exact opposite of desserts.

✔  Habitat: Sea Shore

Avocet, razorbill, great cormorant, northern gannet, puffin, masked booby, brown pelican, Emperor penguin.

✔  Habitat: Forests

Hornbills, fruit doves, owls, kingfishers, woodpeckers, hummingbirds, songbirds, cuckoos, redwing, turkey vulture.

✔  Habitat: Wetland

Grey heron, swans, geese, dunlin, grey plover, cattle egret, wood sandpiper, glossy ibis, eurasian teal, sanderling.

✔  Habitat: Plains such as desserts, grasslands, or prairie

Parakeets, rhea, ostriches, roadrunner, golden eagle, falcon, mottled duck, gull-billed tern, black skimmer, stilt sandpiper.

5. Buy Some Bird Watching Gadgets

You don’t technically need any equipment to start bird watching. However, buying a pair of binoculars can make the experience a lot easier and more enjoyable. You can easily find a good pair of binoculars without breaking the bank.

Other than that, it’s also a good idea to bring along a notebook and a few pencils or pens. It will give you a way to record what types of birds you see.

As you get more experienced, you may want to upgrade your equipment. As a beginner, though, a pair of binoculars, some paper, and a pencil should be all you need.

You might have to shell out a couple of hundred dollars to purchase a decent lightweight and waterproof binocular with a lifetime warranty, but the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.

6. Invest in Bird Watching Guides and Apps

Once you decide you wanted to pursue bird-watching, it is essential to have all the tools required to make it easier. You might start seeing birds you have never noticed before. And while you can try to search them by their descriptions on google, but it doesn’t always work.

These are the times when a handy field guide can tell you which bird you have spotted. A majority of these have high def-clear pictures that make it easy for you to spot.

Bird Guide Resources

Apart from this mode, you can also choose to use bird watching apps. They are much quicker to surf through. But also keep in mind that you should put it on silent or switch if off and only turn it back on when you need to look up a bird.

Bird App Resources

7. Record What You See

Every time you spot a new bird, take some time to record what you see.

Describe what the bird looks like, such as the colors, the size, and other details. If you can draw, take a quick sketch. You can even take a picture of the bird if you have a camera.

You should also write down the answers to a few basic questions, including things like:

  • Where did you see it?
  • What was it doing?
  • What was it eating?
  • Was it alone?
  • What did it sound like?

Taking these notes will help you identify the bird so you can learn more about its characteristics.

8. Go With Someone Who Has Experience

If you haven’t gone bird watching before, it’s a good idea to go with a friend who already has some bird watching experience. They will be able to give you some tricks of the trade, and you’ll learn a lot faster.

Going with a friend can also make bird watching more enjoyable.

How to Go Bird Watching for the First Time?

You don’t need any special equipment or location to start birdwatching. All you need to do is step outside and look to the sky. But if you want to make your first bird watching experience more exciting, grab a notebook and a pair of binoculars and maybe try some of the tips mentioned in this comprehensive bird watching guide.

Want to get out there and watch some amazing birds?

Take a look at some of our safari tour options!

About author

MD and Co-Founder. Born in Zimbabwe, Robin has a long history in Africa, and safaris in general, from running lodges to marketing. He is always on the look out for new ideas and products from around the safari world.

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