All About Birds
Bird Identification
Bird Facts
Guide to Florida Birds
What is Birding?
Birding Etiquette
Ways to get involved
Butterfly Watching

Birding Gear

Birders use a wide range of gear in the field.  For a beginning birder, little more than a pair of binoculars is required and a note pad to keep record of your sightings.  However, the more time that a birder dedicates to their passion, the more likely they are to extend their gear to include things like scopes, which allow them to see birds that are even farther away.  Also, should a birder take up photography as a way to record their sightings, a camera will be added to the list of must-haves.  Another technological bombshell that has just recently made its appearance on the birding scene are recorded bird songs, with programs such as iBird for iPods and other such devices being used more and more.  They are a great way to attract birds that might otherwise be hard to spot. More advanced birders may even bird by ear which requires you to know the bird calls and, in many cases, especialized equipment to amplify far away calls.  Regardless of the technology that can be used in the field, there is one item that is truly indispensable: a field guide.  Pocket field guides are essential to identifying birds, and typically contain illustrations of different species as well as information, such as size and range, that help birders identify their subjects.

As with most hobbies or sports, the process of selecting the right gear should not be taken lightly. Making the right decisions at an early stage will ensure years of enjoyment without additional expenses. While binoculars or spotting scopes can be pricey at times, there are always some affordable options for those with a tighter budget. Before making the investment,it is recommended that you get familiarized with the equipment and brands. This can be easily done by visiting nature centers with loaner optics or participating on nature festivals which usually have some of the leading brands represented in their exhibit areas. In general, bird watching is an inexpensive activity when most of the birding is done near home; as you become an advanced birder, you will want to explore other distant hotspots in search of highlight species. At the end, it's a rewarding activity that puts you close to nature and can be extremely beneficial when you report your findings to a Citizen Science Program or wildlife agency to help those doing research and conservation projects on birds.

Birding Gear Tips
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Binoculars are perhaps the most important tool a birder may have.

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