Bird watching or birding is taken up as a hobby in many parts of the world.Read more to learn about this.
Venturing out to look for and listen to the birds around can be a very enriching experience. Few people do it for recreational purposes while others do it for social reasons, while ornithologists take up bird watching as a full time profession.
Following are some of the useful tips to help you get started to explore the magic of bird-watching:
Bird watching group:
Anything done in a group of people who are taking up the same pursuit turns out to be more interesting and adventurous. We can either form a group of bird-watchers ourselves or we can look up online for any birding group near us. Join them and enjoy the experience.
Even though we can see birds with our naked eyes, there are times when the birds are beyond our visual reach. Thus, for visual enhancement purposes we use a good working pair of binoculars. There are many brands, sizes and qualities of binoculars available in the market.
The one with the magnification of 7×35 is most appropriate for the purpose of bird-watching for beginners. 7×35 means this binocular magnifies objects so they seem 7 times closer and it has a 35mm diameter objective lens. The 8×40 and 10×50 binoculars are appropriate for people with much enhanced bird-watching skills i.e. for experienced bird-watchers.
Cameras vary from amateur to professional. A simple point and shoot digital camera will serve the purpose if we are close enough to the bird we intend on clicking. Good quality cameras allow us to take clearer images and record high definition videos. While photographing birds, we must avoid using flashes and shutter sounds as they might disturb the birds we are trying to capture on our cameras.
Comfortable clothing and shoes:
Since bird-watching is an outdoor endeavor, the clothing should be light and comfortable yet warm and waterproof. Shoes worn must be flexible, sturdy and resistant to stress.
Field guides and maps:
Field guide is a book illustrated with drawings and pictures, which has descriptions of birds in it that assists in the identification of a particular bird. Field guides are very important and mark as the most integral part of the birding venture. They can be found for a particular region or country we are visiting or for more specific places like parks and reserves.
Wherever we go, we must carry the map of the area showing all the trails and bird watching sites of that particular area. These site maps and guides give us the whereabouts of our location and the best time to watch the birds. Bird watching is most convenient in the morning, when birds are searching for food and are in their most active mode.
Notepad and a pencil/pen:
This is used to make a note of the location, time, date, weather and habitat of the bird sighted. The notepad becomes more like a diary of where have we been and what all have we seen. The descriptions of a bird seen can be written down and its features can be drawn and we can refer the field guide later to identify the bird, if we haven’t been able to do that instantaneously.
Maintain the Wildlife ethics:
While bird-watching is an adventurous pursuit for us, it is not so for the birds. If we don’t maintain the code and ethics of birding then we might hamper the well being of the birds involved. Utmost attention should be given to avoid exposing them to any kind of danger.
We shouldn’t stress them with artificial lighting and recordings. We must play a very cautious role while observing, photographing or filming them. These methods must be completely avoided in case of threatened and endangered species that are rare in a particular area. We must keep well back from nests and other nesting sites.
We should not barge in their natural habitats like intruders. We should keep habitat disturbance to the minimum. If we spot a rare bird, then its presence shouldn’t be advertised as this may result in habitat disturbance.
Bird watching destinations:
Some of the popular bird-watching destinations in India is given below:
- Great Rann of Kutch, Gujarat.
- Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Rajasthan.
- Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Goa.
- Nameri National Park, Assam.
- Jim Corbett National Park, Nainital, Uttarakhand.
- Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, Gujarat.
- Lava and Neora Valley, West Bengal.
- Eaglenest Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh.
- Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Kumarakom, Kerela.
- Pong Dam Wetlands, Himachal Pradesh.
Bird-watching is one of the most enthralling and adventurous expeditions. Missing out on it is like missing out on one of the life’s must-do adventures. So, have you packed your bags yet?