Ten Tips for New Birders
Welcome to the wonderful world of birding !!! Be your interest form watching birds in your backyard to say a count of seeing some 10,000 bird species travelling the world, these tips will get you started for sure.
You need a field guide for your area. A field guide is a book with pictures of the birds and tips for identifying them. Electronic field guides for your computer are a recent innovation - they sing and play videos - something books can't do. There are many excellent books. One of the best books for new birders and you will find it at many book shops - or can always call me back :). Mostly they are area specific so now you know what you are looking for when you visit a bookstore. Glance through it as much times as you can. When you become familiar with the birds in your area, you will want to excess a more detailed guides may be for the country or the continent. Try to select good author who is a well known one in your area. Whatever it is don't get overwhelmed in the beginning and start with the most basic one.
You need a binocular to see the birds and need to learn how to use it too. Keep in mind, best birders (even though they can identify a bird 100 yards away by its silhouette or by its chirp) have the best binoculars. Beginners with an ordinary binocular see a fuzzy ball of feathers and don't have a clue which bird it is. Again, for help in selecting the right binocular, you can call me :). Remember they are life time assets if used properly and investing in a good one from the beginning will certainly be at an advantage.
You need to know what to expect in your area. Having good glance at the checklist of birds in regional field guide will get you going. It will help you to identify the bird quickly and accurately. Birding areas that you may plan to visit will also have such checklists. Use them to the best of your birding experience.
You need to be able to find / spot the birds and identify them for which it is absolutely essential for you to learn about their habitat. Are they mostly found perched on the top of a tree or on the ground or on a lake? Also, try identifying them with their song. To find a bird, you will often hear it first.
Join a group of other birders. Mostly they are very friendly and helpful. We were all beginners once and they will always be willing to share their knowledge. If you don't find any, even picking up binoculars and visiting a birding area will draw some attention of fellow interested birders and you will soon have a good group or information lead to a birding group in the area.
Birding trip or tour helps a lot especially with enthusiast birders. The trips may last a morning or most of the day and are usually free of charge. A professional guide on tour would be a great help and might charge some fees but is worth every penny. Birding Tours can take you all over the world. When birding, wear neutral colored clothing, not white or bright fluorescent colours.
Read about birds. There are many good magazines about birds and birding. Field Guides and books can also do wonders to increase you insight about birds and birding.
If you can't to them, get them closer to you. Just a little work and friends of feathers will be with you. Grow some flowering plants which attracts some flower liking birds or put some seeds in a bird feeder for them to eat. You might even want to build a bluebird house. Various birds have different requirements and you can take my help on this again if you so wish :).
Keep a record of your bird sightings. A "diary" or list of the birds you see. You can make it dynamic by noting the area where you saw, and marked with the day month & year. What activity it was doing and so on. You will be amazed to see the results when you sort on the field parameters. e.g. I was casually strolling in my backyard the other day in the morning and I spotted about 19 species of birds in just 25 minutes. True. Very true.
PURSUE IT AS A HOBBY & HAVE FUN. ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS, TRY TO KNOW MORE AND MORE ABOUT BIRDS AS ITS FASCINATING AND MAKE MANY FRIENDS INTERESTED IN THIS HOBBY. BE KIND TO BIRDS.