How to make bird watching your new hobby

Feb 20, 2012, 8 a.m.

Everyone has spent their whole lives on a planet filled with birds, but how many have actually paid attention to these amazing little creatures? Do you know the names of your neighborhood birds? Can you identify them by their songs alone? If the idea of being able to do this grabs your attention, you might be a potential bird watcher! Get started on your new pursuit by following a few simple bird watching tips.

Although many people find great pleasure in simply enjoying the antics of the birds gathered at their birdfeeder or in watching flocks as they wing through the sky, it usually does not take long before they feel they are missing something by not knowing the birds' names. This is similar to the depth of interest added when you know the names of players and a little about them while watching your favorite sporting events. Identifying birds and understanding their lifecycles, feeding habits and unique calls bumps bird watching up to a whole new level of enjoyment. Becoming an expert at identifying all the birds in your area takes years, so start with a few of the most frequently sighted and build from there. Acquire two bird identification books, one for home and one for the car, to help you learn their names and interesting facts.

While some are satisfied with hanging feeders and watching birds in their own backyards, others travel widely to find the best bird watching sites. Joining a club or searching the Internet will reveal the birding hotspots in your region. Avid birdwatchers love keeping a record of every species they have seen, so buy a special notebook and record the date, location and name of the birds you have spotted, and enjoy your new hobby!

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