The Early Bird: Try Your Hand at Some Bird Watching
Bird watching certainly isn’t easy on beginners, but if you enjoy nature (and you have the right thermal underwear on!) your first steps towards becoming a bird-watching master can be very rewarding. With this essential Early Bird survival guide, you can get the most out of your new binoculars and enjoy yourself too!
Wear Natural-Coloured Clothes
Neon spandex may be essential for bike riding, but when bird watching, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb in the natural environment. Don’t scare the birds and turn up wearing natural colours such as browns and khakis.
Most importantly, dress for comfort. If it looks cold outside, layer up with thermals and long johns; just in case it rains, bring some hardy waterproofs.
Always take supplies with you. A hip flask full of brandy can keep you warm while bird spotting, or for abstainers, you can take a thermos full of hot chocolate. Don’t forget to take healthy snacks or maybe even a small packed lunch. There’s nothing quite as rewarding as noshing down alfresco.
Take A Notepad
Whether you’re helping your local wildlife survey or just bird watching for your own amusement, take a notepad with you to make observations. Slowly, you’ll build up a database of findings that’ll help you identify birds more quickly. Budding artists can make quick sketches, but it’s enough just to jot down the main features of each bird you see to compare with your field guide later.
A fast way of learning and enjoying your hobbies with others is to make friends with your local birders. By checking the RSPB website, you can find out information about excursions in your area and then go bird watching with some fantastic people. These guys will have great insider knowledge and will help you identify many birds on your outings.
All experts were beginners once. Don’t pretend to know more than you do and always ask questions.
Consult Your Calendar
You can bird watch all year, but by researching the peak times for certain species in your area, you’ll have a better idea of what you should be looking for this season.
Listen For Calls and Song
Many bird watchers will listen to digital recordings of bird song in their home. It’s surprisingly relaxing and identifying each bird can become an interesting game while you’re cooking dinner or doing some yoga. After a while, your ears will become attuned to certain patterns and you’ll start identifying song out on your bird watching trips.
Encourage Birds Into Your Garden
If you love birds (which we assume you do, because you’re reading this article), you’ll want to give them a helping hand through the difficult winter months. Add feeders to your garden and a bathing bowl for water. Wire mesh feeders are fantastic for storing peanuts and seeds.
Try to hang feeders at all levels; robins and dunnocks enjoy ground level nosh. Feed the birds regularly so the poor things aren’t disappointed when they come to your garden, and keep cleaning out the wire cage. With a feeding platform, you can tempt thrushes and blackbirds onto your lawn with ripe apples, raisins and fruits.