While watching wildlife only takes sharp eyes and a little time, many birders go the extra mile. A pair of binoculars, a bird identification book, and the desire to spend a little time with nature has helped birding become an activity that over 81 million Americans enjoy today.
Birders are of all ages and abilities. Anyone with the inclination to learn or the love to be out in nature will enjoy this activity. Like many hobbies, you can invest little or a great deal of time and money into it. Starting with the tools of birding, binoculars and spotting scopes can range from under $100 to several hundred dollars and more. Additionally, there are many different field guides that will help to identify the plethora of birds that are around us. You may want to start with a simple guide that identifies the birds that are specific to your given area, but as you engage in the hobby and travel outside of your region, you will likely want to invest in other guides (paper and/or electronic) to help you in identifying those birds. See our Resources page for helpful online information and tools.
Birding is about listening to birds as well as seeing them, as many bird species are more easily detected and identified by ear than by eye. Recent developments in audio technology have helped make it possible to take a recording of every birdcall you are likely to encounter in a given area out into the field stored on a device that you can carry with you. There is also equipment that can be taken to record the sights and sounds that you may encounter in the field in order to take home with you to aid in your identification.
Photography has always been a part of birding, but today’s technology has made this a much more widespread aspect of the hobby and one that many people enjoy.
Bird watchers enjoy observing the birds that frequent their own backyards. Many birders also maintain lists. These lists can be of all species seen in their lifetime, or lists of birds found in specific areas or during a specific period of time. Many birders keep a multitude of lists and refer to them often, taking part in censuses of bird populations, migratory patterns, and local birding to share with fellow birders. One popular count is the Christmas Bird Count, where locally we are able to watch for any environmental threats to the well-being of birds or the increase in new migrants to our area.
Palouse Audubon encourages birders of all ages and abilities and all levels of interest. We would love to have you join us on our birding field trips and informative program meetings. There are birds to be seen, whether out in the field or in your own backyard, and joy to be found on any day during any time of the year!