Bird Watching -- A Hobby with A Cause Bird watching as a hobby has long been contested by the birders, saying that the two are not in any way the same. While birdwatchers do such as part of an activity during recreation, birders are into it with intense dedication. The Birders May it be in the UK or in the United States, birders say that what they are doing is far from just a pastime or a relaxation thing. For them, they do such to study not only the species of birds but also their patterns. They don't base their analogies on mere observation and they invest on the latest optical equipments to strengthen their claims. Instead of going where the birdwatchers usually go, the birders are always on the lookout for new and unexplored sites, hoping to find more information. They would even allot a budget for travel, however far it will take them, just to expand their knowledge and to discern a lot more about the subject that they are most interested about, birds. The Birdwatchers These people go about bird watching by only observing with their eyes. They may also opt for binoculars but aren't really focusing on the technology. They wouldn't care if their apparels are not the latest in the market, they can even go about without those gadgets. What's important is that they get a sense of fulfillment from what they are doing, they get to relax, see the birds and enjoy the sights. The birdwatchers couldn't care less where they do their stuff. They would even do it on their own backyards or just go to nature reserves nearest to them. If they happen to be on vacation, they can do it wherever they are, whenever they please to do it. These people has the love for the birds but don't really want to take that feeling further by going the scientific route, because by doing so, they might miss out the fun that they intend to have. The Right Time Bird watching on regions that have temperate weather are most active in the spring and fall migrations. During such time, the widest array of birds could be seen as these birds relocate northbound or southbound in trying to find nesting sites. For the hobbyists and professionals, it is advisable to do the act in the early morning where the birds are looking for food. This way, observation can be done at a lengthier time and you can see them easily while they are onto their task. Seawatching This type of bird watching is for people who would go near coastal areas to find watch points like the headland to be able to see the birds flying over to the sea. The birds that can be observed from such are called the pelagic kinds. The pelagic species of birds can also be observed when one is aboard a seagoing vessel. Proper Etiquette Whether you're a birder or a birdwatcher, you should always look out for the wellbeing of the birds and also have some positive notes on what you are doing. You can lead the way to promote cleanliness of the environment so that the natural habitat for this kind wouldn't be harmed. Also, you should be vigilant about the latest technology when you use them as part of the activity, that it won't affect the birds in a negative manner. Bird watching may just be a hobby but one that must be done with passion and concern about the birds and their welfare. Bird Watching Scopes -- Find Out More with Clearer Vision For a person who loves observing the birds, a scope would be very beneficial especially if you've already mastered the use of binoculars and is now ready to take the activity to another level. The Binoculars This is the first gadget that is actually being invested upon by the bird watchers and the birders. They look closely into the product to determine what could best work for them. This becomes more of their best friend as time goes by. This actually serves the purpose of seeing the birds more clearly. The accessories for such also become varied through time. The comfort of the user is considered with the weight, eye cups, different lenses and corresponding elements that could make the work easier for its user. Spotting Scopes For the birders, it is important to be at the right place at the right time. They are always on the lookout for something new. They want to add on to what they already knew. And the most important thing is that they want to strengthen their claims and prove their observations as gearing towards the scientific explanation. Knowing where exactly to go is developed through time. The expertise in anything you do in life is actually honed by practice. The same thing is true for birders. They have the passion for what they do. They have tried and tested different techniques through time to be able to gather more data. Although these people still rely on the old binoculars, they also invest on spotting scopes. This tool helps them to see more from what they've already seen through their binoculars. Because they have the passion for the activity and they have a reason for doing such, they are more geared to look for better technology to help then with their research. Choosing the right spotting scope is important. As a beginner, you need to ask around what brand is more popular and why. And you also need to be informed about what are the things that you should be looking for when purchasing one. The quality and design should be your first concern when looking for the right one. Ask about the lenses and the optics design. You need to have the most clear and the one that feels appropriate for your eyes because as a birder, you are looking for more data about the birds that you are observing. You are always on the lookout to find out more from what data is already available. So the view that you would get from scopes is vital for your study to be more scientific. The spotting scopes works best with a tripod. Look for one that is sturdy and easy to control. It should hold up your scope the right way, can navigate through all the directions and can also be slanted on different angles. Then focus more about the lenses. You need to find the ones that could stand all weather conditions. As a birder, you go to different places not really minding the climate on that weather but only have the birds in your mind as top priority. For this reason, you need to have the lenses that could guide you through the process easily and won't let you down even at most desperate weather conditions. Bird watching scopes are there to help you. You just have to find that right one that could suit you best in order to start using such to your advantage. Binoculars for Bird Watching Bird watching is a very popular hobby next to gardening. Given that these creatures come in all sorts of colors, shapes and sizes, how can we not watch and enjoy them? All you need is a book and a good pair of binoculars for bird watching. The challenging part about bird watching is the fact that this requires a lot of patience and practice. But once you get the idea, you are able to improve your style and in no time be addicted to this hobby. But why do you need a pair of binoculars? Simply because you cannot get too close to the birds on your own. Otherwise, you will just scare them and they will fly away. A good pair will allow you to see them up close while those that are of poor quality will not really make you enjoy what you are looking at. When you are looking for a good pair to buy, go for something branded and although this may seem expensive, just consider it as a long term investment. One thing you have to be sure of this that the magnification of the binoculars should at least have 7x power. What this means in simple English is that you can see it 7 times closer than they actually are. There are other brands that can do 8x and 10x but some find it difficult to hold it steady. You will notice that there is a second number after the x that could be 35 or 40. This describes the diameter in millimeters how large the lens is when it is faced with the object of interest. The rule of thumb here is that the higher the figure is, the greater the amount of light will enter through the binoculars making the image clear and not blurred. You must never ever buy compact or pocket sizes binoculars even if they say it is 8 x 21 or 10 x 21. This is because they only have a narrow field of view so it is hard to keep track of the bird when they take flight. Once you have found the right binoculars for bird watching, it is time to get a book that shows a description and information about the bird. You have to remember that not all birds are found in the same area and when you have an idea of what you are looking for it will be very easy for you to narrow your search. With the two things in hand, you can already go off bird watching. Some people start by looking out the windows of their homes and then going to the zoo before venturing off into the park. It will also be a good idea to join a bird watching club as they organize field trips out of town and go into the forests which allows you to get up close and personal with these creatures in their own natural habitat. If only humans could zoom in on an image like the eagle, we wouldn't need to bring a pair of binoculars for bird watching around. But since we don't, we need something to help us out. Remember, you don't always have to buy the most expensive one around because patience and skill are essential when you are out there trying to spot them amongst the trees. Best Bird Watching Optics, How to Find One The passion for bird watching starts with a simple idea of mere observation of the different kinds of such specie. But as years progress and technology develops, more and more bird watching optics become available in the market and your aim is to find which one is the best. The Idea If you are interested to know how a person start to become an avid bird watcher, first, they have the love for nature and curiosity about birds that they would go out of their way to be able to see some and then see some more until the hobby becomes passion. A person can start on his own backyard, observing the birds that fly through their vicinity. Then they could start feeding the birds so that the latter would stay longer within near distance. The idea of birdfeeders and bird baths start from this same cycle. To protect the welfare of the birds, trees are planted as well as shrubs and also provide for nesting areas. Not hooked yet? You can also watch the birds near you, whether on the road or a busy street. Just be mindful of your own safety when performing such task. The optics Now that you already have the habit, you can look into the available optics in the market to see the birds more clearly and to make your observation gearing towards the scientific route. Binoculars are usually the first gear that birders invest on. The more expensive ones, of course, are better. Usually those come with thicker glass, better vision, coatings, precise configuration and alignment and easy to navigate controls. Although with so many types available in the market these days, you might find yourself confused about what can be a good purchase. If trapped in this dilemma, all you got to do is ask. Ask the people who've already been doing the hobby for longer periods than you do or if you can't find somebody, search the Web. The Web actually has all the information you need to know about birding and bird watching and the gears and optics that you must have in order to become successful with the venture. Look closely at the features of the binocular before purchasing one. Choose the right weight by holding such. Remember that when you already have to such it, you have to hold it most of the time for it to serve its function. Also, try to see through it when you are still in the store to know if it is the perfect fit for your eyes. Look at the lenses closely, navigate through the control. You could also ask what are the accessories available to see your options. This way, birding would be much easier and fun now that you have a gadget with you. The scopes are for the advanced users. This is bought along with a tripod. The idea for the proper placing of such develops the more frequent you use it. The lenses would be your utmost concern when it comes to this. Inspect those before you buy one. There's a lot of other optics available that you could try once you've mastered the use of binoculars and scopes. It varies from night vision, infrared, illuminating appeal, tools to photograph or record the observation on video among many other choices. The best bird watching optics is there to help you find the right view, the right angle. When you are already geared up with such, all you need to be mindful about is where you could find the right spot. The Importance of Keeping a Bird Watching Life List The bird watching life list is a record kept by the birders. This also serves as a tracker device for the people involved in the activity and for those who are conducting related studies. And this is a very important tool for those who love the action and actually has the passion for such. Bird Watchers The people that are being categorized as bird watchers are those who are only starting out. Everybody who is into this activity first become a bird watcher or just a mere observer. Their curiosity actually lead them to look and then look more until they've developed a habit of looking farther to see what the birds are doing and how they do it. For such type, a journal would be fine. This is where they jot down their observations for the purpose of not forgetting. These notes would actually be helpful if they take their hobby to a different level, by being a birder. But for now, let the simple note taking do it for them. Theirs is more simple task because what they see is far from scientific because they still don't have the equipment and the ability to see beyond what their naked eyes seem to tell them. Birders These are the more passionate people about the craft. They are not merely hobbyists, they do this to study and relate their observation with scientific research. This group would invest on materials to strengthen their claims. They are always on the lookout for the newest technology that could help them navigate more thoroughly. Birders go where the birds are. Through research, they go the extra mile to travel where the birds that they haven't seen or haven't been seen by many are situated. The keep track of what happened on their journey. They take notes along the way. Life List This is what the electronic or written records contain. Such things can be done by the birders. As they search for the species, the venues in which they could find more types, and looking out for yet to be discovered kinds of birds, they contain it all in a life list. The information in a life list should include where a certain type of bird was seen, classifying the bird and the date when it was seen. Noting what the bird's usual activities are and how they went on about such is also part of this. The birders have variety and long list of this kind. It shows their history as an enthusiast of how far they have gone in terms of the activity and how much they have already seen and learned in the process. They can always go back to this data to change or modify some information depending on their further observation. This is the reason why as days or years go by and as the number of life lists being made by a birder piles up the data gear more towards being scientific because more proofs are available when anyone tries to contest what was recorded. Keeping a bird watching life list would also benefit people in the future. As the study about the different types of birds become more and more varied, people can always refer on the information provided by the birders on this list for further researches to become more and more accurate. Basic Bird Watching Apparel -- The Must-Haves In anything you do, it is better if you are geared up for an activity before it even starts so that you'll be able to give your best once you are into it. Same is true when it comes to bird watching. Which One? Are you are birdwatcher or a birder? The birdwatchers do such activity for fun. They are fond of the birds but they also want to enjoy the sights. They do their observation even without the help of any kit but, of course, they won't say no to a binocular but doesn't really mind its class or type. They are doing the activity to relax. And they can do such wherever they please, including at their own backyards. The birders are serious about the activity. They don't merely want to observe, they want to learn and share that knowledge for the world to know. They study each and every movement of each and every species of the birds they encounter. They would go the extra mile to seek out new territories, to find out new kinds of birds and to study such further. Between the two types of bird watching enthusiast, birders require the more apparel to them because of their purpose for doing the act. Those things that the birders need to have can also be used by the birdwatchers but they aren't really particular about such stuff. Geared Up The basic needs of a person involved in this activity are, of course, the binoculars, spotting scope would also be helpful especially the kind with tripod, notepad wherein to keep their journal and field guides. The binoculars become so popular with bird watching activity that manufacturers even came up with the type that is intended only for this action. This tool helps one see the birds clearly. Although the good ones cost more than the simpler versions, it is advisable to invest on such especially if you are doing this activity with such passion and you feel the need to know more and more about the birds that you are observing or have already seen. Purchasing a spotting scope with a tripod is like declaring the passion to a different level. Now, you're proving to be more serious about what you're doing and that you want to see more clearly than what the binoculars can do. Spotting scopes are actually telescopes, this is why its view can reach father. This type is mounted on a tripod for the user's easy navigation. The field guides can be useful for someone who's into the activity to know where to go, to ascertain where to look and to help them easily locate what they are looking for. They can keep as many depending on where they have been or where they plan to go. A notepad is also a bird watcher's best friend. They can document on it, jot down their observation, list down the things that are bogging them and note what they what to find out in future research. As days go by, the bird watching apparel available in the market becomes more and more complicated but likewise helpful for the enthusiasts. It is advisable to invest on good quality even though the cost is higher because in the long run, you'll benefit more from such because it will last longer. Prince Edward Island -- A Must for Bird Watching Enthusiasts The Prince Edward Island holds the same name as the Canadian province where it is located. The national park is a haven for many bird species and a delight for bird watching enthusiasts. Such natural beauty this place has that birds and people flock around to enjoy what the site has in store for its visitor. The rolling hills, untouched forests, ocean coves and its red soil is what make this place stand out for its beauty. You could only wonder in amazement that such place exists. Prince Edward Island, the Province Its government is now trying to enact laws to be able to preserve the place and prevent further damage from happening in the area which was brought about by the lack of zoning and planning for land use within the province that has resulted to some unpleasant aesthetic development in recent times. Did you know that the author of the classic novel entitled "Anne of Green Gables," Lucy Maud Montgomery, got her inspiration for the settings and backgrounds of the story from the Prince Edward Island? It was done during the Victorian era. What was envisioned in the book can still be felt now. This island seems to be waiting for artists to draw their inspiration from its captivating beauty. Not only that, the place is now a favorite for tourists for relaxation activities like going to the beaches, golfing, eco-tourism experience, while enjoying all the sights and seeing on the cultural events within its local communities. The slow-paced kind of life in the place rural areas is really what draws in more tourists as they can enjoy their vacation and truly relax in the process. This factor gives the impression of something like an old world flavor for most of the tourists that frequent it. Most communities in the rural areas of the Prince Edward Island get their living through small-scale type of agriculture. The reason for this is that the size of the farm areas in the vicinity is indeed small especially if you compare it to the other areas in Canada. Although today, industrial farming is slowly being adopted in the area as the old farms become consolidated and likewise modernized. The Coast of Prince Edward Island This is the frequent stop of bird watchers in the area. The island's coastline has long beaches, dunes and cliffs made out of sandstones. Rolling hills can be found along its landscape. And it has a lot of bays and also harbors. The islanders take their responsibility as guardians of the precious nature surrounding them. They only give back for whatever the place has also bestowed them through agriculture, abundant fisheries and, of course, tourism. There are said to be about 333 kinds of birds that can be found in the area. There is really something for everyone to enjoy here. The bird watchers will have a feast with what's in store for them at this paradise. Bird watching is only one of the many things that a tourist can enjoy at the Prince Edward Island. It is really a must-see place to experience such oneness with nature. Don't forget your binoculars and a heart set out for nature once you've had the chance to check it out. Peru Bird Watching Peru bird watching is one of the greatest things a bird watching hobbyist could ever experience. This is because the place provides a great background not only on magnificent bird life but can also present to you a landscape gifted with almost everything the nature has to offer. Next to Colombia, Peru is the next country that has the largest variety of bird species available. Because of its unique topography and strategic geography, Peru offers a great habitat for so many birds in almost all parts of the world. Studies show that there is almost 2000 bird species existing in Peru. Ornithologists -- people who conduct scientific study on the life of wild and domestic birds. Investigate and record their anatomy, behavior, evolutionary development, ecology, classification, and species distribution -- say that almost 19 percent of all the bird species in the world and almost 50 percent of neo-tropical birds can be found in Peru. The country also offers virgin forests that are perfect habitat for rare species of birds as well as animals. The best places for Peru bird watching Knowing how rich the variety of birds present in the country, no bird watching hobbyist can resist visiting the country. But before packing your bags and your binoculars, it is a must that you conduct a brief research first about the country so you can maximize your stay there. In your research, you should include the list of things that you need and the best places to conduct the activity. Here are some of the best places for Peru bird watching: 1. The Paracas National Reserve. This is considered as one of the most spectacular and convenient places to go bird watching in Peru. Located at Lima, this preserve in Paracas can be reached after almost 4 hours. The common birds that can be seen in the area include the Humboldt Current, the Pisco, Dark-faced Ground Tyrant, Peruvian Thick-knee, and Tawny-throated Dotterel. 2. The Lomas de Lachay National Reserve. You can reach this place if you traveling almost 100 kms. north of capital city -- Lima. If you are into daytime bird watching, this is the ideal place for you because the place can only accommodate a small number of people. Although it is quite far, the trip will worth it because you will find rare species of Thick-billed Miner and Yellow-finches. 3. The Marcapomacocha. This area is almost five hours away from the capital city. But, the trip will really delight hardcore bird watchers because the place offers the view of some of the world's most rare bird species including different breeds of Andean species, Sandpipers, the beautiful White-bellied Cinclodes, and black-breasted Hillstar that is really popular in the country. You can also enjoy the off road views in the Giant Coot located in the lake of Marcapomacocha, the Lake Junin, the Huánuco, and the Carpish range. (TIP: Make sure that you bring lots of water when you go to these places because the weather can be so hot and cause you dehydration.) 4. The Huascarán Biosphere Reserv. Located at Huaráz in central Andes, the reserve can be reached after almost 10 hours of driving. Before reaching the place where you can find the rare White-cheeked Cotinga, different kinds of finches, and Andean Condors, you will pass through breathtaking mountain ranges and lakes. 5. The Chiclayo-Cajamarca Circuit. Peru bird watching can never be complete without visiting this establishment because you can see the most legendary and rare species of birds that can only be seen in Peru including the buff-bridled inca finch, long-whiskered owlet, marañon crescent-chest, and the marvellous spatule-tail. California -- A Haven for Bird Watching Bird watchers should not be mistaken for ornithologists because the latter are into the scientific study of the bird species while the former do such with mere observation through the eyes. Bird watching is a popular hobby in California because the place has many sites wherein you could enjoy such. Birder's Delight This is how enthusiasts claim California to be. The place's almost perfect nature, with the palm trees or pine trees surrounding it, the tundra foliage at over 14,000 feet at the peak of the Sierras, and deep down 282 feet that is below sea level, Death Valley has its cactuses. Such scenario makes the place one happy habitat for birds and one must-see destination for bird watchers. Species Variety California is a habitat for about 600 species of birds. With such variety, a person who loves this activity will never be bored in this place. And while you're out there looking for the birds and waiting to observe the many different kinds of it, California offers such scenic spots that would make you feel at one with nature. No wonder how the birds flock over to this spot. The place really is a natural habitat that people must also feel responsible keeping it the way it is, respecting every creature even the birds. As an enthusiast, you have plenty of spots to choose from when in California to see those birds while feasting your eyes with the beauty of your surroundings. King Range National Conservation Area This is located in San Francisco and home to an array of natural habitats such as an estuary, the evergreen forest, the riparian spots along the streams of freshwater, a captivating coastal prairie among others. At this place, you'll find bird species like the woodpeckers, swifts, hummingbirds, even ducks and geese, pelican, terns, loons. And this is just few of the long list of the different birds habituating the area. Bodega Bay This is located in the Sonoma County. You'll mostly find sandpipers and also terns in August, and September and October are hectic months for bird watchers because this is the time when the migrants arrive in the area, both the shorebirds and those that are on land. Sierra Mountains This can be found in between California and Nevada. Such mountainous vicinity is home to many bird varieties like the American Pipits, the Western Bluebirds, Palm Warblers, chats, vireos, Indigo Buntings. And this list is only a few of the many kinds of birds that one will be able to find here making this a birder's favorite. Big Morongo Canyon Preserve Located in San Bernardino County, the greenery surrounding the spot really is the key why some 266 native kinds of birds flock around and have been recorded on the area. The place has rich vegetation and is being surrounded with desert slopes. The reason for that is because it is situated between two deserts, Mojave and the Sonoran. The list for hot spots for those who are into bird watching in California is long and you have a wide array to choose from. The Web is a vast resource of information if you'd still want to know more about some more places, even where to go about it and the list of bird species that you can find in it. Bird Watching Tips for Beginners Bird watching can be a very fun and interesting activity once you are familiar with the thing that you need to know when doing it. The first thing that you need to familiarize yourself about bird watching is identifying the bird that you will watch. This very task is quite challenging because it is not easy to identify them especially when they are so many feet away from the ground. Since birds are energetic and active animals, you need a clear and quick eye to be able to see as many details possible in such as very short period of time. Aside from being too far away from you, other problems that you might encounter -- especially if you are a first time bird watcher -- is the dim light shaded by trees, the glint of sunlight that can affect your sight, and the hidden places where birds go to play. So, when you are into bird watching, it is always best to have a general knowledge on bird's attitudes and observe them carefully. You might not name them properly the first time but you definitely can the next time if you pay proper attention in observing them. The following are just of the helpful tips that can help you in your very first bird watching session: - Always keep on eye on one bird. Bird watching is more effective if one uses a binocular. When you are bird watching, try to spot only one bird that catches your attention. Once you have seen one, never take your eyes off it because it might fly to a place where you cannot see it. In most bird watching centers, beginners are given a field guide in a form of a booklet or brochure so they can identify the bird once they have seen one. Once you know what is it, take time to observe its physical details as well as its behaviors and mannerisms. Make sure that you observe the bird's movements, markings, feeding habits, songs, color, and size so you can easily identify it the next time you see it. - Make sure that you listen intently for the bird's calls and song. Although listening for a bird's song is easy, it doesn't stay long in a person's memory. What you should do is to listen intently when the bird calls or sings and play the bird's song in your mind repetitively. Listening to a bird's call and song is important because it can help you identify the bird even without seeing it. - Take time to estimate the bird's shape and general size. The average shape and size of the bird will give you a huge clue in finding out the family it came from. In bird watching, make sure that you assess its overall appearance and take note of its approximate size and shape. Once you can tell from the size and shape of the bird what kind is it, then you are doing good. - Pay attention to the bill characteristics and facial markings of the bird in sight. This is one of the hardest things to do because the average of almost all birds are small. They also keep on moving so it will be hard to take note any unique markings on their faces. It is also equally hard to take note of characteristics of its bills because most birds keep on pecking all the time. To get these details, spot a bird that doesn't fly around that much. Once you found one, start observing it head by looking for any distinguishing hue patches or color strips. These can be present in their eye lines, crowns, napes, and arcs or in the rings. Bird Watching During Spring Migration Bird watching during spring migration is an incredible treat for all birdwatchers, newbies and veterans alike. The month of May ushers in spring along with largest influx of migratory birds that provides an unparalleled experience for expectant spectators. Hundreds of migratory birds fly in from different parts of the world which is why this season is much awaited in the bird watching scene. Many different bird species can be spotted and enjoyed during this time which makes it easy even for first time bird watchers to sight even the often rare and difficult to sight birds. Different birds of different feathers flock together during this momentous time which is why many serious bird watching enthusiasts travel great lengths, often crossing continents to track and sight migratory birds during spring. Fortunately, one need not travel too far to enjoy this natural phenomenon. All one has to do to take part of this wonderful event is to track the migratory patterns of these birds through simple research and find out good places for sighting. To do this, one may start by finding out the different local bird watching activities that usually culminate during International Migratory Bird Day. Take advantage of the interstate bird watching activities both for the bird sightings and also for the networking. These festivals often offer various bird related activities that are not necessarily actual bird watching so there is something for everyone and you can bring you family along if needed. Meeting and talking with other bird watching enthusiasts will help equip you with the necessary tips and tools to further progress in this worthwhile hobby of birding. If you're willing to travel a bit farther up north during spring, you will be welcomed by a wonderful bird watching experience staged at the Canadian side of Lake Ontario at Prince Edward Point. The annual Prince Edward County Birding Festival is flocked by migratory birds and bird watching enthusiasts alike. In fact, if you are new at bird watching, you may want to put off visiting this area during spring migration for the reason that it will be very difficult to top the experience of birding here. After visiting Prince Edward County regular bird watching locations may begin to fall short of your expectations and if you aren't a serious bird watching enthusiast yet, you may soon become one after this experience. To partake of this wonderful natural experience, you can opt to join established bird watching trips to this area. With an experienced guide and a group of other enthusiasts, you will be able to better appreciate the trip to one of the best staging areas of migratory birds. Be sure to book your trip and finalize your plans before hand because you may be hard pressed to do otherwise. All the advanced preparations will be worth it anyway from the sheer amount of wonderful bird species you will be sure to see along with the invaluable camaraderie and networking you can do with other new and old bird watching enthusiasts alike. Whether you consider bird watching as a casual hobby or your life's passion, remember that bird watching during spring migration is something that you must try, even if you only try out local haunts to begin with. Be forewarned though that experiencing this kind of event may convert you into a serious birder whether you intend to be one or not. Bird Watching Scopes Bird watching is a popular hobby in the US with already more than 50 million members and this figure is expected to grow. Of course, you have to get close to them in order to see it which is why the hobbyist needs to have a bird watching scope. While some people use binoculars, hunting optics seem to be much better and if you want to know which of these are the best to buy, they are namely ATN, Bushnell, Leupold, Nikon and Swarovski. So you know what species you've seen in your scope, you will have to refer to a bird watching book that is readily available at the store. But what if you want to see and take pictures of them at the same time? For that, you will need the digital camera binoculars. This type of bird watching scope allows you take high quality images. These happen to be the latest innovation in technology that allows you to take shots even at night and then download it into your desktop or laptop. Very lightweight and compact, you can easily carry it no matter where you go. If you don't like the picture you took, you can review it by displaying this on the LCD screen then deleting this image and taking a better shot. Another great feature of the digital camera binoculars is that you can record live video for up to 20 seconds or more. It is very affordable and a great addition to those who want to take bird watching to the next level. Some of the brands that sell this bird watching digital camera include Barka, Bushnell, Celestron and Meade. These companies are the best in the business and if you want to take more shots, you just have to change the flash card from a 64MB to one that can accommodate 1 GB. There are two features you have to look for when comparing these brands. These are namely the objective lens size and the magnification power. Objective lens size will determine the field of view while the magnification power may be from 7x to 10x. Of course, don't forget to check if the bird watching scope has a clear LCD display, good resolution and as mentioned earlier, the video capture option. Since it is hard to stay in one position for a long time, you should also check if your new toy can be mounted on a tripod. As much as we want to buy the best digital camera binoculars around, one thing that we have to consider is our budget. If some brands are beyond your price range, you can either wait until you have more money or settle for those that are within your reach. Once you have narrowed that, it is time for you to try them out. It should be durable, light weight and water resistant because it has to withstand the elements. Speed is also another factor so you are able to capture the bird should it fly away suddenly and you are able to add this to your collection at home. Aside from checking out the merchandise, do some research and see what reviews have been written about the product. These bird watching scopes area also great for other activities like boating, hiking and hunting so get something that can be used all around in the outdoors. Bird Watching Optics It is one thing to watch a bird on television and another to see it with your own eyes. When you are looking for them in the woods, through your window or in the forest, you should be prepared with the right equipment and one important thing is a pair of bird watching optics. Bird watching optics is essential because it is impossible to see a bird hiding behind a tree with the naked eye. Since you will be carrying other things along, it is only right that this is compact and lightweight. But is it enough to have bird watching optics to make your excursion successful? The answer is no because you need to wear the right attire, have a bag and a bird watching guide so the birds you see can easily identified. Bird watchers should wear a birding vest that has several pockets. The typical kind has about ten which makes it easy for the user to put things such as lens cap, lip palm, insect repellant, water and some snacks instead of stopping and pulling these out of the bag. Ideally, this uses a Velcro seal instead of a zipper or a button so you are sure that whatever in your pockets is secure. You don't want to be caught should it rain so it is also a good idea to bring a long a rain jacket. If the weather is quite sunny, it is advisable to bring along a hat so you don't get sunburn even if you have already put lotion on the exposed parts of your body. The hat also has another purpose and that is to keep hair away from your face and eyes. Bird watching takes hours which is why it is important to put all your stuff in a backpack. It should have some food, water, compass, notebook, field maps and even an extra pair of bird watching optics. You should only carry what you need and avoid making it too heavy because it will be hard to carry when you get tired. If you want to capture an image of the birds you have seen, you can buy a pair of optics that is able to capture pictures and video. Naturally this is more expensive than the one you just look at but it is worth it when you are able to download these to your computer and show it off to other bird watchers. Bird watching is very popular and you don't have to enroll in a class to join in the fun. You simply need to know what birds are in your area so you know what you are looking for either by yourself or when you are with a group. As for the right pair of bird watching optics, you have to do some research first by comparing the price, looking at its features if it has interchangeable lenses or if it can be mounted on a tripod and lastly looking at consumer reviews since these people know what they are talking about before they decide to recommend this to others. The key to this hobby is patience. After sitting around for a few minutes or maybe an hour, you might just spot the bird a few yards away and see it up close and personal with the help of your bird watching optics.
Bird Watching List Software People who love to go bird watching will enjoy seeing different species they have never encountered before. So they can easily identify what is there, they can get a brochure from the park service but since this information is not always accurate, you can download or purchase bird watching list software instead. This program will tell you what bird species can be found in a specific region in the world. With the information, it will easy to classify and identify what you see when you get back home. But isn't there a software that can record what you have seen? As a matter of fact, there is. This program is designed to let you save the date and time that you saw a bird so you can share this information with fellow bird watchers and vice versa. You can also upload the pictures from your digital camera so you can put the name of the species with the right image. You can download a free trial of these programs and then pay for it later on if you would like to continue your subscription. The developers of some give out updates for the program making it better than it was before. The development of bird watching software has made this hobby go high tech. Not only do we need the usual gear like the binoculars, a guide and a notebook but now, something else to help up keep track of everything we have seen. Before you download or buy the bird watching list software, make sure that it is compatible with the operating system in the computer. Since it will occupy a lot of memory in the hard drive, you should also consider upgrading it so you will soon have a huge collection of bird's right there on your computer. If you travel regularly, some software programs can put these in different lists so there is one for birds which you saw in the neighborhood, another for a trip either local or abroad and even a wish list while there are others that are sold separately. But despite everything, some people say that the computer program is only useful when you have one in front of you. It is not practical to bring this along during the trip because it could get wet or damaged and since you will be hiking the whole time, it is best to travel light and only bring the essentials. To answer this concern, you just have to bring a lot of memory cards for the digital camera then upload these when you get back home. Will more people use bird watching software? Definitely yes but it will not phase out the use of a good journal simply supplement what people have been doing for years so they have record of the bird they have seen. Bird watching is a fun hobby and anyone can become a member. In the beginning, you may not even need the bird watching list software because you will be looking for them only in the neighborhood. But when you have the money to travel farther, this tool will come in handy because you will no longer need to drop by the park service just to get a brochure to tell you what is there. You can skip this and look for them on your own or sign up immediately for the group tour. Bird Watching in Uganda One of the best places on earth that has a huge collection of animals is Africa. This is because of the terrain that includes rich savannahs, deserts, rain forests, wetlands and a lot more. This makes it an ideal place to be close nature and if you love birds, why don't you go on a bird watching in Uganda. Uganda is just one of more than 20 countries that are part of the African continent. It occupies a land area of 235,000 square kilometers which has more than 1008 species of birds. This figure represents more than half of the type of bird species found in Africa making it the best place to be should you desire to go on a bird watching vacation. There are a lot of places to go bird watching in Uganda. You can take your pick from over 700 forest reserves. One example is the Albertine Rift Endemic Area that boasts to have 38 species of birds. The birds here can also be seen in Burundi, Congo and Rwanda. Because the government wants to protect these animals, they have setup 24 similar areas that are located in the forests of Mgahinga and Bwindi National Park in the southwest. Apart from the forests, there are also the wetlands. Uganda has 30,000 square kilometers of wetlands and not less than 210 bird species are present at all times. You might to see the Shoebill, the African Skimmer, the Papyrus Gonolek, White Winged Warbler or the White Winged Black Tern. Of the many national parks in Uganda, the most famous are Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls, Bwindi Impenetrable, Semuliki and Kibale. The Queen Elizabeth National park has one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game reserve in the world. Aside from the 606 bird species that roam this are, you can also se 100 mammal species. Murchison Fall National Park is situated by the Murchison Waterfalls nearby. The wildlife in this area has drastically improved from the poaching done during the 1980's so you are sure to see several species of birds, elephants, buffaloes, giraffes and antelopes. The Bwidi Impenetrable National Park is home to 90 mammal species which includes 11 primates. There are about 23 bird species which still ranks among the highest in Uganda. Semuluki National Park is one of the newest in Uganda. It lies on the border with Congo. Because of the changes that happened during the Pleistocene era, it is very ideal for both floral and fauna to grow. Kibale National Park is considered to be the most accessible in Uganda. You will get to see various species of birds here and along the way you might get the chance to take pictures of one out of 13 primate species that inhabit this region. You can camp out in each of these places or stay in a small hotel or camp ground so you can head out looking for birds early in the morning and get back before it gets dark. The parks are open all year round. All you have to do is book a flight and accommodations, pack your gear and then arrive at Uganda. Don't forget to bring your camera and download the list of bird species found here so you can easily identify what you see when you get close to them. Bird Watching in Rome, Georgia Another place where you can do some bird watching is in Rome, Georgia. With a total land area of 59,000 square miles, you will get to encounter one of perhaps 300 plus bird species that have made this place their home. Just to give you an idea of this state, Georgia is divided into 6 natural regions namely the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the Gulf Coastal Plain, the Piedmont, the Blue Ridge province, the Ridge and Valley province, and the Appalachian Plateaus. Given that each is different from the other, it is no wonder that it can house a varied number of species. Of the more than 300 species, 160 of them are permanent residents of this vast land. The others migrate here and these can often be seen during the winter. Along the coast, you will to see the Anhinga, Black Crowned Night Herons, Clapper Rails, Egrets, Least Bitterns and Wood Storks. Along the shore, you will see Dunlins, Common Snipes, Spotted Sandpipers, Sanderlings and Semipalmated Sandpipers. In other parts of Georgia, you will encounter Black Vultures, Catbirds, Mourning Doves, Northern Mockingbirds, Northern Bobwhites and Turkey Vultures. The state bird of Georgia is the Brown Thrasher. You won't miss it because this usually sings while you might see Ruby Throated Hummingbirds in the garden as they enjoy being around flowers and feeders. Other birds that you can see here are the Acadian Flycatchers, Barred Owls, Belted Kingfishers, Blue Gray Gnatcatchers, Horned Larks and Sedge Wrens. Don't forget that there are numerous species of vireos, sparrows and warblers that have been reported as well as American Robins, Blue Jays, Eastern Meadowlarks, Fish Crows and Northern Cardinals. Founded as a non-profit nature preserve and education center in 1986, Birdsong is dedicated to preserving and maintaining its lands in a manner that is most beneficial to wildlife, and to fostering in the public a greater understanding and appreciation of nature. Not far from Rome, Georgia is the 565 acre center called the Birdsong Nature Center that is also host to a lot of bird species. This is mid way between Thomasville, GA and Tallahassee, Fl so don't confine yourself to just one area and go out and explore the nearby areas. If you go to greater Atlanta, you can visit the Cochran Shoals unit of the Chattahoochee River. There are over 60 species of birds here especially during the spring and fall migration. Those who want to go hiking can travel to the Kennesaw Mountains. There are over 20 species of birds up there mostly warblers. While you are there, you can go the visitor's center and get a bird checklist as well as ask if there have been any rare bird sightings. Along Georgia's southern coastal region is the Colonial Coast Birding Trail. There are over 300 species of birds that have been seen here so it is really a treat to see so many all in one place. You can also call Georgia's Ornithological Society to be informed of rare birds. This is updated on a weekly basis given that Georgia is host to many migratory species. Hobbyists will surely have a lot of fun doing some bird watching in Rome, Georgia. Try to spend two days or more here so you don't have to rush seeing the various sites. Bird Watching in Maine Bird watching is now a very popular hobby. There are several clubs and organizations that you can join and one place where you can go to see some species is in Maine. One of your first stops could be by the great North Woods region where you will be able to see the Boreal Chickadees, Gray Jays, Olive-sided Flycatchers and the Spruce Grouse. If you happen to travel by Maine's Atlantic coast, you can see hundreds of puffins gathered around Machias Seal Island. With a tour guide, you can disembark from your boat and get within 4 feet of these birds. If you happen to visit this place during the migration season, you will be able to see migrating Arctic Terns. Another great place is in Bangor that is considered to be the best bird watching spot in Maine. An example of this is the Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Here, you will be able to see the Eastern Phoebes, the Pine and Palm Warblers as well as the Yellow bellied Sapsuckers. These can be found in other parks along this area and along the riversides. There is also the Scarborough Marsh that happens to be a 3100 acre estuary and used by many birds as a breeding, feeding and resting ground. You will surely get to see a lot of shorebirds here nourishing the marsh. Other birds that you will see in Maine include the Bald Eagle, Barn Swallows, Black Ducks, the Canadian geese, common loons, Flickers, Golden eye Ducks, Grosbeaks, Hummingbirds, Kingfishers, Mergansers, Ornomants, Seagulls and Woodpeckers. Before you go off bird watching in Maine, make sure you all your equipment with you including a map so you know how to find your way back If you get lost. If possible, take a few pictures so you can share this with others when you get back home. You can even report what birds you have seen and submit these photos online because although some species are common in these parts, there are some rare finds that will surely be enjoyed by fellow hobbyists. Acadia National Park is another place to go bird watching. According to the National Park Service, there have been 338 bird species that have been recorded. Through the years, this number has grown and you might just encounter one of 23 species of warblers that breed in this park. Because of their seclude location, other birds have also used this as their nesting habitat namely the herons, harlequin ducks and purple sandpipers. If you have a chance, don't forget to visit the Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary in Lewiston. This is a 357 acre wildlife preserve that overlooks the city surrounded on three sides by both suburban and urban development. This place is used for schools and professionals for research which makes this open to anyone who wants to be close to nature. For those that would like more information about bird watching in Maine, you can get in touch with the Audubon Chapters in Maine, the Mid Coast Audubon Society, the York County Audubon Society, the Nature Conservancy or the Stanton Bird Club. They are always on the lookout for new members that share the same fascination with our feathered friends and will also do whatever it takes to protect those that are endangered. Bird Watching in Los Angeles Some of you might think that it is impossible to do some bird watching in Los Angeles or in any other city. But there are places that you can visit making it possible for you to enjoy this hobby. The first is the Arboretum of Los Angeles County. This is a 127 acre garden that is blooming with plant and tree life making it a perfect location for some birds to live on. Here, you will get to see 200 peafowl birds that were imported from India and some peacocks. Another place is the Los Angeles Oiled Bird Care and Education Center. This is a 10,000 square foot facility that can accommodate 1,000 birds at a time. Approximately 40,000 children visit this place every year. Guests will be able to see two large outdoor aviaries that house pelicans. They even have a hospital for birds that have been found and brought in for care by viewing the monitor. You can also visit the Audubon Center at Debs Park. Considered as one of the greenest buildings in the nation, it houses coyotes and about 138 species of birds. Of course, one place that you cannot miss to do some bird watching is the Los Angeles Zoo. Examples of these include the Andean Condor, African Fish Eagle, Chilean Flamingo, Egret, Mandarin Duck, Laughing Kookaburra, plush crested Jay, Military Macaw, Red Knobbed Hornbill, Sacred Ibis, Thick billed parrot, Ostrich, Congo Peacock, Blue Peafowl, Common Rave, Roseate Spoonbill, Black Swan, Inca Tern, Lady Ross'sTuraco, Cape Vulture, Cape Griffon Vulture and a lot more. But if you want to do some bird watching without paying any entrance or parking fees, drive around the city and you just might see some especially around the UCLA campus that is on the Westwood area of Los Angeles. You may also find birds in the flood control basins of Los Angeles particularly near the Montebello Hills and near the Hansen Dam. Here you will find Nighthawks, Roadrunners, Costa's Hummingbirds, Cactus Wren and the Loggerhead Shrike. The Boreal forest is also home to 60 species of birds especially during the migrating season and during the winter. You could see Surf and white winged scoters diving for clams and mussels along Newport Beach or the Golden crowned Sparrow all the way from Canada's Yukon. If you like bird watching, you can join groups that sponsor trips and training to their fellow members. Some of them are the Los Angeles Audubon Society, the West Los Angeles Bird Club, the Parrot Society of Los Angeles and the Gold Country Bird Society. Meetings are held monthly. You can post questions by emailing them or visiting their website. When you bird watching by yourself or with a group, make sure you to bring all the equipment you need like a pair of binoculars, a pen, a journal, a hat, backpack and even a digital camera. You could share this information with the other members during the next meeting so you become an active participant not just someone who sits in the back and just listens to what other people have to say. The places mentioned just goes to show that it is still possible to do some bird watching in Los Angeles even if it is a bustling city. So check these places out and have some fun. Bird Watching in Big Bend Not all birds can live in the same environment. This is the reason why bird enthusiasts travel all over the country and around the world to continue this hobby. One place that is not too far and has a lot to offer is in Big Bend National Park. Big Bend National Park is located in the Southwest corner of Texas. It is halfway between El Paso and Laredo while the Rio Grande swings southward to form a huge bend which marks the southern boundary of this national reserve. All in all, it is 1200 square miles of Chihuahuan Desert and mountain grandeur. This makes it an excellent habitat for more than 450 species of birds, 75 species of mammals and 70 species of amphibians and reptiles. When the weather gets cold, most birds use this as a migratory flyway so you will get to see some birds that are only here once or twice a year. Some of the birds you can encounter at the Big Bend National Park include the Band-tailed Pigeon, Black-chinned Sparrow, Colima Warbler, Crissal Thrasher, Elf Owl, Flammulated Owl, Green Kingfisher, Lucifer Hummingbird, Mexican Jay and the Pyrrhuloxia. This is also the only place in the US that you will see the Mexican long Nosed Bat that is listed as an endangered species. Given the parks size, there are a lot of excellent bird watching spots to check out. You can go to the Rio Grande Village, the Cottonwood campgrounds, the Chisos Basin and the Hot Springs to see the colorful golden fronted woodpecker or the Colima warbler. Another ideal spot is the Ojito Adentro that is found on wayside stop #4. While you are walking, you can hear the Bell's Vireo singing especially during early March and September. In the Spring, you will encounter the Blue Grossbeak, Canyon Bewick, Summer Tanager, Vermillion Flycatcher and the Zone tailed hawk. Some bird species that drop by for a visit during certain months of the year include the acorn woodpeckers, ash-throated flycatchers, black-chinned and broad-tailed hummingbirds, cactus and canyon wrens, greater roadrunners, lesser nighthawks, loggerhead shrikes, northern flickers, scaled quail, Scott's orioles, spotted sandpipers, tufted titmice, bushtits, western wood-pewees, white-throated swifts, white-winged doves and Wilson's warblers. The mammals you could see at the Big Bend National Park include the desert cottontails, black-tailed jackrabbits, rock squirrels, Texas antelope squirrels, Merriam's kangaroo rats, coyotes, gray foxes, raccoons, striped skunks, mule deer, and white-tailed deer. You should be careful when you go bird watching at the National Park. There are also a few poisonous snakes like the diamondback, the Mojave, the black tailed rattlesnake and the trans-pecos copperhead. There have also been reported sightings of Mountain Lions and Black Bears. Since the Park was opened to the public, there have only been 4 attacks on humans. The Big Bend National Park is open all year round. More than 300,000 visitors come here annually so pack along your gear and head out for some bird watching at the Big Bend. You can camp here for a few days and even get some snapshots which you can add to your collection back home. So you don't get lost, you can get a Ranger to guide you around, join a nature seminar and a host of other activities that are offered at the park. Bird Watching in Arizona Bird watching in Arizona in definitely a must for those who are into this kind of hobby. This is because the place offers a wide variety of birds perfect for observation such as the common ones including black and gray hawks, owls of different species such as whiskered screeches and elves, various species of hummingbirds, nightjars, trogons, flickers, woodpeckers, flycatchers, and pewees. The place is also perfect if you want to see rare kinds of birds such as seasonal species of kingbirds, chickadees, becards, gnatcatchers, titmouses, sparrows, tanagers, and warblers. If you are planning to go bird watching in Arizona, always make sure that you visit the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve which houses almost 300 different species of birds. If you want, you can make a schedule online and avail of the guided tours on Saturday mornings. The preserve has almost 3-mile long trail that gives you a breathtaking beauty of nature along with various species of birds nearby. Things you need before you go bird watching in Arizona In the United States, Arizona is one of the best places for bird watching because it has hot type of climate, which invites a vast species of birds. Because of the number of birds seen in the place, birding has become a source for recreation and tourism. Before you get captivated its wonderful bird life and its breathtaking landscape in this side of the state, make sure that you prepare very well the things that you might need. If you are planning to conduct bird watching in Arizona, make sure that you bring: - Bring a bird watching guide. This is very important especially for first-time watchers because this will serve as a reference for you. The guide usually contains basic information about the place or the preserve, list of birds that are usually seen in the area, brief characteristic of common birds that can be seen in the area and tips for the first-time watchers. - A good pair of bird watching binoculars. Although some centers provide binoculars for the viewers, it is best if you bring your own pair. This is to ensure that you will use a good pair of binoculars when coming to Arizona for bird watching. If you're planning to buy a pair of binoculars before going there, make sure that you buy a pair that has good magnification, clear lens and focus, and good exit diameter. - High SPF bottle of sunscreen. Since Arizona has hot weather, it is best to protect your skin especially from sunburns. In Preservation centers, you are usually asked to go on a trail that has no shade. If you want to protect your skin against too much ultraviolet rays, it is quite important to apply lots of sunscreen with high SPF. - A notebook with pen. This is a good option especially if you want to record your observations about the birds. When you have a handy notebook and pen, you can easily jot down the characteristics of the bird and other notes about the Center easily. (TIP: Choose a notebook with plastic cover so you can protect your notes from getting wet.) - A big bottle of water. To keep you well hydrated during bird watching in Arizona, it is best to keep a bottle of water with you at all times. Having a handy source of liquid at hand is very crucial especially if stay out in the sun for a long time in a place with hot weather. Bird Watching Gifts for the Bird Enthusiast Bird watching is a great hobby. You get to meet people get close to nature and know the difference between each species. If you know someone who is into this, you could surprise them on their birthday by buying them a bird watching gift. What do bird watching enthusiasts want as gifts? To answer that, you have to know what they bring a long every time they had out into the woods. Probably the most affordable and easiest to get is a hat. This will prevent their hair from blocking the eyes at the same time prevent them from getting sun burn in the face. The next item could be a pair of cargo pants that has a lot of pockets so they can put snacks and other items on their sides. A bird watching vest is another cool item to get because it has more pockets than the cargo pants. They can put their mobile phone on one pocket, snacks, water, map, and insect repellant and more on the others making it within arm's length instead of taking this out of the back pack. If you that their back pack is already worn out, perhaps you get can them a new one. These come in different sizes and you don't have to get a large one because these hobbyists are supposed to travel light. Perhaps the most expensive thing to buy for the bird enthusiast is a pair of binoculars. This is because of the lens that allows the user to see farther and wider. There are even some models that allow the person to interchange the lens while the more high tech ones allows you to see in the dark, capture photos and videos. A bird watching journal is also a nice gift to get because the hobbyist records what was seen and how many they were. In the years ahead, they will surely write more birds down and they would need another booklet to record this down. Another great idea is to get the person a one year subscription to a bird watching magazine. This is published monthly or on a quarterly basis and they will be able to see pictures of birds in places that they have never been before like the Antarctic, the Amazon, Africa and somewhere in the Atlantic or Pacific. If you think that buying bird watching gear as a gift is all you can buy, think again. Those who can spare some cash can send the person off on a bird watching vacation perhaps up north in Canada or down to South America. You have to remember that there are hundreds of bird species and not all of them can live in the climate in the US. So which one should you buy first? Well, you have to talk to the person first and see what they don't have or where they have never gone. A small conversation will already give you several ideas and you just have to pick the right one that is within your budget and meaningful to the recipient. Who knows? It's possible that during the course of your shopping, you might learn to appreciate the hobby. Instead of supporting that person, you soon join them on excursions. That is perhaps the best bird watching gift to ever give anyone because you are able to do something together. Bird watching for children Bird watching for children is one of the activities that can help instill the value and love for animals on their young minds. Aside from teaching them the importance of taking good care of animals, bird watching for children can also be a great of spending quality time with them. This activity is also great for children because it can teach them to become nature-wise and van teach them teach them good manners such as respect for animals. What you need Before you go bird watching with children, make sure that you yourself have had a first-hand experience on the activity. What you can do is search on the Internet what are the best places to bird watching with children. Once you found the best one or the nearest one in your area, take a time off to visit it before bring your children there. Check if the entire area is safe for children. If you are having doubts about children safety, it is best to talk to the administrator of the park or the preserve to make sure that they have enough facilities to take care of kids. Also, ask what are the things that you need to bring when going there. Also check how much are the fees, how many kids are allowed to bird watch, and what are the ideal ages for bird watching. When everything is done and you are confident that your child will be safe while bird watching, book a tour date while you're there. On the date of the bird watching activity, make sure that you bring the following: 1. A good pair of binoculars for kids. This is very important because the center might not have enough binoculars for the visitors. To ensure that the kids can use something, grab a good yet cheap pair of binoculars when you are in the department store. 2. A bird book or field guide. Although most of the bird parks offer booklet that contain information on the birds that can be seen there, it is best to bring a book guide on your own just in case they don't have one. The book guide can help your kids identify the common birds in the area and can help them in describing the birds based on their appearance, color, size, and shape. 3. Bottled water and snacks. Since kids tend to get hungry often, it is best if you bring lots of bottled water and handy snack packs just in case no convenient store is near the area. 4. First aid kit. This should always be a must whenever you go out with your kids because they can be so accident-prone. Make sure that you include a first aid kit in your child's backpack to make sure that you can tend to the wound or scratch immediately. 5. A camera. This is also a "must" when going out with kids because it can preserve the memories with your kids. Having a handy camera can enable you take as many pictures of your kids during the tour. You can also ask your kids to take as many photos as they can of the birds that they see. 6. A notebook or sketchpad with pens or pencils. One of the benefits of bird watching for children is that it encourages them to jot down their observations. These can also be helpful to artistically-inclined children because it can encourage them to draw the birds that they see. Bird Watching Caribbean Cruise Who said you can't enjoy two pleasures at the same time? If you have to go on a Caribbean cruise, another thing you can do is bird watching given that there are a lot of bird species living out there in the tropics. Here are some of them. First is the Trinidad Asa Wright Nature Center that is ten miles north of the town of Arima on Blanchisseuse Road. This place is situated in 200 acres of rain forest so you ca walk around here and catch different bird species hiding amongst the trees. If you have the time, try to spend at least 2 to 3 days here so you can take your time doing your hobby. Next is the Bubali Pond in Aruba that is on the north side of eagle beach and south of De Olde Molen that happens to be a known windmill restaurant. This isn't a wildlife preserve but rather a pond that is kept wet all year round. You can expect to see brown pelicans here in large groups as well as the Black crowned Night Herons. It is best to see these near dusk and dawn. In Aruba's Spanish Lagoon, you can get to see brown pelicans, egrets, herons and frigates. Don't be surprised to see large green and yellow parakeets that are twice the size of those you see in the pet store that are often seen at sunset. The Barbuda Frigate Bird Sanctuary is considered to be a secluded because the only way to get here is by boat. With the help of a guide, you can get to this place and see thousands of Fregata Magnificens or "man of war" birds that live here. The best time to visit is during the fall which happens to be the breeding season. Aside from them, you may also get to see 170 species of birds living together with them. Your ship may make a port call to the island of Jamaica. If it does, you can visit the Rockland's Bird Sanctuary. Here, you will get to see 289 bird species of which 28 are endemic and 6 have just been introduced. There are also 10 bird species on the endangered list which includes the Black billed and Yellow billed parrots. Visitors can pay the entrance fee and wonder on their own or pay extra for a guided tour. You will get to see hummingbirds, Red billed Streamertails, Jamaican Mango, Black and Yellow faced Grassquits as well as their relative the Orangequits. These can be hand fed so you don't have to play hide and seek just to seem them hiding in the trees. The places just mentioned are just a few you can visit while you are on a Caribbean cruise. Since your trip will last a week or even longer, plan already where you want to go so more time can be spent with the birds rather than thinking about where you can see the birds. The Caribbean cruise packages being offered do not come with bird watching tours but you can sign up for one once you the ship docks to port. Make sure you have all your equipment with you which include a hat, small backpack, vest, sun tan lotion, binoculars and a camera so you won't miss out on anything during your visit. Finding A Good Pair of Bird Watching Binoculars A good pair of bird watching binoculars is definitely a must if you are into bird watching. This is because this will help you view and observe birds better. For beginners, a good pair of binoculars is really one of the basic tools they need in order to get the hang of the activity. Aside from helping them see birds closely and clearly, a pair of bird watching binoculars will also help them to adjust in viewing moving birds. Buying a good pair of binoculars Bird watching is one of those activities that entail patience and keen observation. This is because you don't need to do anything but to watch avian creatures in the horizon and do the thing they love the most -- flying. If you are new into bird watching, the first thing that you need to pay attention to is having a good pair of binoculars. In buying binoculars for bird watching, the major consideration should be the quality of the lens installed in it. The lens should provide you the best quality of image possible, no any distortions in the viewfinder, and should present the best color of the object being observed. The average cost of a good pair of bird watching binoculars is around $500 to $1000 depending on the brand, size, and quality of lens installed in it. For starters, you really need not buy so expensive binoculars. To help you get the best binocular for your bird watching, here are some helpful tips for you: 1. Consider its magnification. This is very important because it will enable you to see the birds clearly. When looking for a pair of binoculars, choose those that have minimum magnification of 7x35. But if you can afford to buy binoculars with larger magnification such as those with multiples of 8x, 9x, up to 10x, it is better because these can definitely give you a larger image of the bird being watched. Always keep in mind that a larger lens gets more amount of light, thus, can provide you an image that is sharper and clearer. (TIP: Binoculars with higher magnification tend to be heavier. It is best to look for a pair of binocular with high magnification but made of light materials so you can carry it.) 2. Check its flexibility. The flexibility of the binoculars can be tested if you move its barrels. This is very important so you won't have difficulties in holding it the way you want to. Make sure that the barrels are not tight so you don't have to worry that it will break easily. 3. Test its focus. Most binoculars will not focus clearly when you test it inside the store because the environment tends to be dim. If you want to make sure that the binocular can focus clearly, try focusing it on a bright side of the room. If it has good focus, it will easily focus on the subject in sight. While checking the focus, you should also check if there are distortions in the image. If there is, don't buy it because it is of poor quality. 4. Pay attention to its exit pupil. This should also be a major consideration because this will determine if you will see things clearly. The exit pupil refers to the diameter seen on the image once it leaves the lens' eyepiece. The exit pupil should always be bigger that the eyes of your pupil because the image will appear dark. The basic exit pupil should at least be 4 mm or higher to get the brightest image possible. Bird Watching Links You can see birds on television documentaries and in magazines. Now that we live in the digital age, you can also find these online as there are people who have posted bird watching links. Bird watching links allows hobbyists to see birds from different parts of the world and at the same time submit photographs of what they have seen. Some of these sites are run by colleges and universities which use the information they gather for research purposes. You can even download the images and add these to your collection. If you are new to this hobby and have no idea of the bird you just saw, you can post a question by describing it and get an answer shortly. Another side of bird watching links allows people to participate in conversations. This sharing of information makes everyone more knowledgeable about the kinds of birds that can be found where they reside. If the people live close to each other, they can even plan a bird watching trip together. You may also encounter some bird watching blogs that you can post a reply or comments to if you agree with the topic or disagree on what was said by the other person. The links may also be used by local chapters and conservation groups to hold conferences, seminars and other events to create an awareness of birds that are endangered or provide better ways and techniques when it comes to bird watching. Some travel agencies have also used as an outlet to invite bird watchers to come visit them so they can see the species of birds that are only found in their country. To give you an idea of some of the bird watching links, you can check out www.audobon.org, www.birding.com and www.birdingguide.com. There are hundreds of them on the web and they will show pictures and information about birds like what kind of food they eat and where is their natural habitat. If you don't like the stuff being sold in sporting goods store, you can even buy some of these items online and have this delivered to your home. You can buy it brand new or second hand and even auction for these items as there are people who are willing to get rid of their old stuff. Because of the many bird watching links, you don't need to buy books anymore when the information here is constantly updated that happens to be much faster than publishing a new book. Chances are, when you go to one website, you will be invited to visit another by simply clicking on it. As long as people are into bird watching, the number of links will continue to increase. You can expect to see the same picture or information in some but if you look hard enough, there is always something new to learn about our feathered friends. If you don't know where to start, type in a keyword in the search engine like "bird watching" or "bird watching conservation groups." In a few seconds, a list will appear right in front of your screen then it is up to you to check each one and bookmark those that you would like to visit again in the future. If you discovered something new, don't be shy to share it because others have done the same in the past which has benefited you.
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