Saturday, February 28, 2009

Top 10 Tips for New Birders

1. Buy a Sibley Guide to Birds: Eastern or Western. We consider this the best guide to have with you in the field. For a good home reference buy The Sibley Guide to Birds. This guide covers the whole United States with more detail included for each species.

2. Buy Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs: Eastern or Western. This is one of the best ways to learn bird calls at home. Each species is on its own track so you can flip between them easily. The Peterson Bird Songs: Eastern and Western are also good to have. They group the calls into groups that sound similar to help you learn them more easily.

3. Go birding by yourself. By birding by yourself, you will not be relying on others to identify the birds you see. This way you will learn more and become a better birder.

4. Join a local field trip. While this may seem to contradict #3, it is also important to surround yourself with experts that can help you with difficult identifications and give you tips on local birding and birding locations.

5. Study your bird books before going out. This will help you become familiar with the common birds and will make your outing more enjoyable.

6. Subscribe to your local birding list-serves. By reading the posts from other birders, you will learn what to expect while you are birding which will help you identify birds more quickly.

7. Try to identify every bird that you hear singing. If you do not know what one of them is, attempt to find it so that you can learn what is making that sound.

8. Read bird identification articles in birding magazines and on bird related websites. This will help you sharpen you identification skills beyond what you can learn in a typical field guide.

9. Get involved in May Day and Christmas Bird Counts. Not only will you be birding but you will be helping scientists learn about birds in your area.

10. Be patient. The more you are in the field, the more you will learn and the more fun you will have!

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