Birds are one of the most extraordinary representatives of the fauna. They attract people’s attention with their grace, external beauty, and the ability to conquer the sky. Birdwatching is a popular activity in many countries. This hobby often turns into a lifelong passion, and it also becomes a profession for some.
The culture of birdwatching
Birdwatching is not just birdwatching with binoculars, monoculars, and other optics. This occupation is a full-fledged part of the culture of many nations and constantly attracts the attention of more people.
Birdwatching appeared in the last years of the 19th century in Great Britain. In those distant times, people watched birds in their natural habitat and studied their characteristics, habits, and ways of communicating with their fellows. Gradually, the hobby grew into a professional occupation, which is popular in many countries of the world. A few decades after birdwatching was given official status, associations of bird watching enthusiasts began to appear. They included hundreds and sometimes thousands of ornithologists. The purpose of these associations was to study different species of birds and create favorable conditions for them to grow in population. To do this, birdwatchers searched for nesting sites, installed feeders, and monitored changes in the behavior of birds.
Nowadays, birdwatching culture involves a comprehensive study of birds, preserving their populations, and the creation of the most comfortable conditions. In parallel with this, the hobby allows photographing and recording videos with birds. This information helps to study birds in more detail and monitor their condition. For a person, birdwatching is also interesting because it develops observation, trains visual memory, and simply broadens one’s horizons.
Most notorious birdwatching competitions
Birdwatching is a popular hobby whose fans often compete with each other. Such competitions are to photograph various types of birds for a certain period. The winner is the person who provides pictures of the most significant number of birds seen. Due to the high competition, it is often necessary to take more than 1000 photographs of birds that live in different parts of our planet to win. Alternative rules provide for matches between ornithologists, who determine the type of bird according to the offered pictures.
The most popular competition is considered to be the World Series of Birding. It is regularly held in the USA and attracts the attention of the best ornithologists, scientists from other fields, and ordinary bird watchers. This event is not only competitive but also charitable. During the competition, money is collected for the protection of birds and the preservation of their population.
All World Series of Birding participants are divided into teams looking for birds in different regions of America. All search results are recorded by a special commission that distributes well-deserved awards. Prizes are given to the groups that find the most species of birds in the state of New Jersey (the venue of the competition), in a particular area of the country, and a limited area. There are also awards for teams of older and younger age groups. Similar competitions are held in dozens of other states. At the same time, their scale and popularity are much lower than those of the World Series of Birding.
How to prepare for the birdwatching
Birdwatching is a complex activity that requires careful preparation. Before the hike, you should perform a few mandatory steps and collect the necessary equipment. This approach will make it possible to comprehensively improve the process of searching for birds and forget about any discomfort.
The preparation process should begin with the collection of equipment. It must include standard items used during long trips. Also, like equipment, you need to use things that birdwatching lovers cannot do without.
Must-have items for birdwatching lovers:
- The main thing in the birdwatching equipment is an optical device. You can watch birds from afar and not scare them with your presence: binoculars, monoculars, or other optics. Optics is selected depending on the characteristics of the campaign (night, day), the nuances of the terrain, and the needs of the user. In all cases, it should be of high quality and multifunctional.
- Determinant of birds. Today, there are about 11,000 species of birds in the world. It is practically impossible to remember the appearance of each of them, which creates specific difficulties in identifying the observed individuals. In this case, a birdwatching lover will come to the aid of a bird finder. This is a unique book that contains photographs and general information about most of the species that live in a particular area.
- Field diary. This simple item is a must for all birdwatchers. It allows you to take notes about different types of birds, helping to study birds in more detail, determining their habitat, and monitoring the number of individuals. In addition, the diary makes it possible to compile your descriptions of fauna representatives, which will later be used for the faster identification of birds.
- Backpack. Birdwatchers take a considerable amount of items with them on a hike. To comfortably wear them for a long time, you need to purchase a comfortable and voluminous backpack. It must have a large number of hotels where you can neatly place everything you need for birdwatching.
- Camera. The proof of the discovery of one or another species of birds will be a photograph taken with one’s own hands. A camera should be added to the list of mandatory birdwatcher items to do this. Ideally, it should have an 8-10x zoom (maybe more), allowing you to take pictures from a long distance. Also, the equipment must be equipped with a memory card, on which you can save a large number of photos and videos.
After collecting the equipment, the birdwatcher must perform a few basic preparatory steps. They will help a person better cope with his task and not get into a difficult situation.
- Search for bird habitats. Birdwatcher training should begin by looking for areas home to a large number of bird species. Without carrying out this work, you can walk for hours searching for birds without finding individuals of interest. In most cases, birdwatchers choose nesting sites for birds. Here, you can see local inhabitants and birds arriving for a certain period of the year.
- Choice of clothes. Birds are timid creatures; therefore, they often fly away at the sight of a person. You need to dress appropriately before the trip to prevent this from happening. The most comfortable clothing that will cover most of the body will be optimal. It should correspond to the current season and be invisible to birds. The latter can only provide the proper camouflage. Another essential requirement for clothing is its ability to dry quickly from moisture. Otherwise, the observer runs the risk of catching a cold.
- Choice of shoes. For lovers of birdwatching, not every pair of shoes is suitable. Therefore, its selection process should be approached as responsibly as possible. An ideal option would be high boots of an appropriate size, equipped with orthopedic insoles and a unique sole. The latter must be cast, solid and thick. Also, this element of the shoe needs a corrugated surface that prevents slipping on wet roads.
- They are studying the voices of birds. This part of the training is essential for bird watchers. If it is carried out correctly, a person will be able to recognize the voices of birds by ear, which will simplify the process of their identification as much as possible.
- Learning basic safety rules. Preparation for bird watching will be complete if you carefully study all safety rules. This information will help you find the right solution in an unforeseen situation (for example, leaving a familiar route, encountering predators, etc.).
Birdwatching is an exciting activity that attracts the attention of tens of thousands of people from around the world. It positively affects the psychological state and helps people develop their abilities. In addition, birdwatching allows you to study birds and protect different species from extinction.