In parks or trails, you’ll likely see a group of people with binoculars and notebooks enjoying one of the fastest growing hobbies in the U.S. – birdwatching.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates some 45 million Americans are ‘birders.” Bird-watching one of the fastest growing hobbies in North America – for many reasons.
- It’s convenient.
- It’s inexpensive. A field guide, notebook, weather appropriate clothing, good walking shoes or boots, a bottle of water and maybe a pair of binoculars are all you need. (Some say binoculars limit your viewing range.)
- It involves you in nature in an interesting, sometimes challenging, way.
- It’s relaxing and calming because of the focus and concentration involved.
- It’s suitable for every level of fitness from armchair through-the-windows watchers to out-in-the-fields exercise enthusiasts.
- Birds can be enjoyed anywhere, even in major urban areas…or your backyard bird feeder.
And most of all, birding is a great way to meet like-minded nature lovers. But how?
How to Get Social with Bird-Watching
there are many ways to meet others while birding. Here are just a few:.
- Birdwatchers Digest lists watcher groups as well as birding festivals and events. It also publishes informative articles and pictures on its website and in its bi-monthly digest magazine.
- The American Birding Association lists local birding clubs on its Welcome New Birders page and hosts a Facebook page.
- The Audubon Society is an advocacy group that, among other things, has a map and a searchable list of its more than 450 chapters here. It even offers an identification guide that even includes the call of every bird pictured.
Many birdwatchers are avid photographers (some breathtaking pix are here), others just love the thrill of the hunt. Garth Clifford of www.worldbirds.com describes it best: “If you loved treasure hunting as a kid, you’re going to love bird watching as an adult. With birds as treasures and their information as clues on how to find them, this hobby is basically a lifelong scavenger hunt that you can play across the entire earth.”
If you are feeling competitive? Start practicing now for the World Series of Birding on May 13, 2023. Birding even inspired a movie. The Big Year came out in 2011
According to Wikipedia, “A big year is a personal challenge or an informal competition among birders who attempt to identify as many species of birds as possible by sight or sound, within a single calendar year and within a specific geographic area.”
For More Information:
- Tips for getting started: https://bwdmagazine.com/tips-for-birders/#getting-started
- Hard to get out? Many enthusiasts set up baths and feeders to entice birds to their yards. Some go so far as to “match” feeders and food (berries, seeds and suet) to species they particularly hope to attract. Want more information? Visit: https://worldbirds.com/how-to-attract-birds/)
- About birds and birding: https://worldbirds.com/
- Scientist Katelyn Wilde’s blog offers informative articles e.g., “Do Hummingbirds Have Feet?” “Can Birds Eat Popcorn?” “Do Lovebirds Talk?” https://www.sonomabirding.com/blog/
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Nona Aguilar is an award-winning writer of numerous magazine articles and two books. She has also edited four specialty business newsletter publications. Her work has appeared in Ladies Home Journal, Redbook, Family Circle and Cosmopolitan, and in The Business Owner.