Birdwatching…your lifetime ticket to the theater of nature.
If you’re a birder, chances are that you like to keep lists to record your bird sightings— of birds you’ve seen in your yard, your town, county or state, or on vacation, in a month or year, or all of the above. This is easy to do with a computer listing program.
Being a “list” kind of girl, birding feeds my need to categorize and organize for future reference. Balance this with a healthy dose of exercise and breathing fresh air during birding adventures and you have an excellent activity to feed the mind, body, and spirit. Even for those who are ‘list’ impaired, enjoying birds and the outdoors connects one with nature and the great..and inexpensive entertainment found in the theater of nature and the wonderful world that surrounds us.
If you are just getting started…
Here are some tips for finding & identifying our feathered friends:
- Read about birds. There are many good magazines about birds and birding. There are also thousands of books about birds.
- Bring the birds to you. You can attract birds to your yard with just a little work. Planting the right flowers will attract hummingbirds. Sunflower seeds will bring lots of new birds to your house. You might even want to build a bluebird house. Learn about the National Wildlife Federation’s “Backyard Habitat” Program.
- Be sure to equip yourself with a decent pair of binoculars. Practice adjusting and using them so you are comfortable. Start by first spotting birds with the naked eye. Binoculars or scopes have a much narrower field, making it harder to search.
You need a binocular to see the birds
Soon you will discover that the best birders have the best binoculars — even though they can identify a bird 100 yards away by its silhouette. Newcomers with a cheap binocular see a fuzzy ball of feathers and really don’t have a clue which bird it is! There is an unbelievable difference between a $59 binocular and a $900 binocular.
- Dress comfortable -where neutral colors…not white.
- Know what to expect: You need to know what to expect in your area. The giant woodpecker you saw in the woods was a Pileated Woodpecker, not an Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Checklists of birds in your area will tell you this. Many State and National parks near you have checklists of the birds seen in the park.
- Consider color a bonus…except under the best of conditions, it is hard to see feather color accurately. The colors of a bird can play tricks on you. A bird’s colors look different atop tree at sunset vrs noon. Light reflection and shadows can often distort, dull, or exaggerate colors. consider other factors first.
- Other factor’s: First ask “How big is the bird?” Is it as big as a sparrow, a robin, a pigeon, a chicken or an ostrich? Is the bird fat or skinny, long or short. Look at each part of the bird. Is its bill short or long, thick or thin, curved or straight? How about the tail? What shape is it? Is it forked? Are the bird’s wings pointed or curved, long or short.
Are you and the bird deep in a forest, on your lawn or 50 miles out at sea? Each bird likes a certain habitat. Habitat refers to things like plants and trees in the area, the elevation (are you in the mountains or at the shore?), the climate in the area and the type of water nearby. See if the bird is swimming or wading. Can the bird climb trees? Does it wag its tail a lot? When it flies, does it go straight or up and down like a baby roller coaster?
- Songs and calls are excellent mechanisms and sometimes the only way to distinguish birds in a field.
Really good birders can “see” more birds with their eyes closed than you and I can see with our eyes open! They know the songs a bird sings. Even one chip note might tell them a bird called a Rose-breasted Grosbeak is hiding in the bushes. What we need to learn is… LISTEN ! A bird’s song can tell you to START LOOKING FOR ME. Some birds such as rails and bitterns live deep in the swamp. You may never see them. But good birders can identify them just by hearing their call or their song.
- Use a good field guide. You need a field guide for your area. A field guide is a book of pictures of birds and tips for identifing them.
- Most important…for the beginning birdwatcher: Go out into the field with folks who know the birds! Join a group of other birders. Birders are very friendly and helpful. They are always willing to share their knowledge. We were all beginners once. Start by calling the local Audubon Society, the local Nature Center or State Parks, or the local Bird Club. If all else fails, go to the park with your binocular. Someone is sure to strike up a conversation and they might lead you to a whole new group of birding buddies!
Try a birding trip or tour. Local bird trips are sometimes advertised in the newspapers. These are often led by park rangers or a local Audubon member.
…and here is a great opportunity to meet folks who really know our feathered friends!
Beaver Creek State Natural Area invites you to
Go Wild!…Go Birding!…
May 14th, 2011
: Frustrated because you can’t identify all the birds at your feeder, in the woods, along the roadside, or at the beach? Here are some quick tips for beginning be
Oregon Parks and Recreation will celebrate the 2011 International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD)
at Beaver Creek State Natural Area by offering a day of bird observations and activities.
The activities will start at 9 a.m. with guided bird walk, incorporating Beaver Creek’s already established Bird Count Census throughout the Natural Area. this guided walk will have naturalists and expert birders to help beginners identify birds; all ages and abilities welcomed! From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Welcome Center, visitors will get first-hand information on local birds and bird watching techniques by roaming naturalists on the observation deck. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will have a booth in the Welcome Center where visitors can obtain free information on local birds. At 12 p.m., Dawn Grafe, park ranger with FWS, will present the Do’s and Don’ts of Backyard Bird Feeding.
IMBD is an annual event to help generate awareness and support of migratory bird conservation.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for people to get in involved with Oregon’s newest State Park Bird Count Census and develop a broader understanding of and appreciation for birds” said Brian Fowler, the event coordinator.
Admission to Bird Day 2011 activities is free.
Beaver Creek State Natural Area offers year-round hiking as well as kayak tour during the summer. Reservations can be made by calling :
For More information and directions for Bird Day 2011 email Brian Fowler at firstname.lastname@example.org