What Does a Birder Need?

Let’s start with the easy one. When you’re looking at a bird that you can’t quite see the distinguishing factors on, what do you use? A spotting scope, or more often, binoculars.
Binoculars magnify what you’re seeing at different levels, depending on what focus they’re set on. Most birders use binos because they’re light and hang around your neck nicely. Scopes, on the other hand, have far more powerful magnification, but as a result are large, heavy and sometimes even awkward. More serious birders use scopes as well as binoculars because different tools are useful at different times. For example, if you go out on a hike with lots of trees and many Warblers, Finches, Sparows, etc. you aren’t going to use your scope.  But, at a big, spreading lake, the scope will come in handy, using it’s higher magnification power to help you ID that Dunlin, while the binoculars won’t be as much use.

The #2 most important thing is actually a three way tie between camera, notebook and birdbook. Tell me your thoughts in the comments for the next post.

Is The Camera, The Notebook, Or The Birdbook
The Second Most Important Thing A Birder Can Have?

[Update: Here is the second post. Thanks for reading!]

6 thoughts on “What Does a Birder Need?”

  1. I’m going to say a Field Guide – either paper or app.

    While a camera is a useful tool, you still need a resource to tell you what’s in the photo!

    A bird ‘book’ is how you learn about new species, a tool you can use in advance of a trip to prepare, a means of comparing similar species.

    And some species can’t be separated by photograph alone (e.g. Alder & Willow Flycatcher) – you need a guide to point out what to observe in order to make the distinction.

    A bird book will tell you about behavioural traits and normal habitat, etc., that also help to identify and understand the birds.

  2. Camera, because with a bird book you’d have to flip through all the pages to find the right bird. A notebook you’d have to pause every time you saw a new bird to write it down. With a camera you can just snap a photo, take it home, and once you’re there you can flip through the bird book to find what it is, and write it down in a notebook.

  3. I think I’d go for the camera. Trying to page through a bird book and find the right species before the bird takes flight would drive me batty (haw haw). I’d take a picture and ID the bird later. Of course, the camera is more to carry than the bird book, because I’d want a long (heavy) lens. But it’s faster, in my opinion, and easy to reference later when the pressure is off.

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