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Birdwatching Advice

Below are a few tips to enhance your bird watching experience.

bulletDo not wear extremely bright clothing, instead wear muted colours that are likely to blend into the surroundings.
bulletAvoid making excessive noise, as loud noises can scare away the very birds that you are trying to observe. In addition loud noises prevent you from hearing the call of the bird or the rustle of a bird as it moves through the foliage.
bulletSlow deliberate movements are advisable particularly when attempting to approach close to a bird, so as to avoid startling the bird.
bulletBirds are visible throughout the day, however early morning 6am to 10am and late afternoon 3pm to 6pm are usually the best times for bird watching. Some species tend to call in the early mornings as the sun is rising, making it easier to locate the bird through its call.
bulletIn forested areas, locations that are near to streams, pools or ponds are usually good locations for observing a variety of bird life.
bulletIn Trinidad and Tobago, savannahs are generally not completely tree-less. The general area around trees and shrubs in savannahs will usually provide good locations for seeing the types of birds that frequent savannahs, as several species will use these trees as a perch for spotting prey plus resting. Electricity or telephone wires that cross or border savannahs are also used as perches and so you should frequently scan along the wire. Most savannahs are gently undulating so the hummocks/hillocks also provide raised elevations for some species to spot prey.

About the Author

This article was provided by Brian Ramsey, the author of the Bird Identification Guide, Discovering the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago

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Bird Watching Binoculars - Critical Bird Watching Equipment 

By Rick Chapo

Avid bird watching enthusiasts often look like pack mules hiking to a gold rush in the west. Bird watching binoculars are one of the critical pieces of equipment they carry.

Binoculars

There are a lot of issues when it comes to choosing binoculars for bird watching. Optics and personal preference seem to be the foremost, but here is a list of issues you should consider.

Bashability

Bashability isn't really a word in the English language, but it certainly applies to bird watching. The bashability of binoculars refers to how tough they are. For instance, if you drop them on the driveway while loading the car, will they hold up? What if you drop them off a small cliff? I, err..."a friend" once did this on the cliffs above Torrey Pines beach in San Diego. More than a few people have been surprised to learn that binoculars go out of whack when bashed. Now, I realize you would never drop them or subject them to anything but the finest treatment, but just check them for me.

Costs

I like wine. I drink wine. Unless I am standing at the cash register, I can't really tell the difference between a $10 bottle of wine and one selling for $100. Bird watching binoculars seem to run along the same lines.

You can buy bird watching binoculars for as much as $1,000. Heck, Victoria's Secret or Neiman Marcus probably have diamond encrusted ones for $100,000. Do you need to spend this money? No. My personal experience has revealed binoculars in the $200 to $400 range perform well and I've never missed a sighting because of their quality.

Obviously, you can spend whatever you wish, but keep in mind you don't have to go overboard. Plus, binoculars without diamonds tend to still be on the beach once you make it down from the cliff.

Feel

This may sound obvious, but you need to buy binoculars that are comfortable. Ideally, you are going to lug these babies around for 10 or 20 years. Make sure they "fit" your face and spacing of your eyes. Also, make sure they don't weigh too much. After a few hours of birding, this can become an issue.

If you're going to be a birder, you're going to need binoculars. Like wine, you can go overboard on them, but don't need to.

About the Author of this Article

Rick Chapo is with http://www.nomadjournals.com - makers of writing journals. Bird watching journals are great bird watching gifts for bird watching tours and vacations. Visit http://www.nomadjournaltrips.com for more bird watching articles.

 

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Introducing the fascinating hobby of Birdwatching! 

by Paul Duxbury

Birds are the most visible form of wildlife, they are found in every part of the world that is not permanently covered by ice, and you can see them in any weather, any time of day or night, anywhere you go. Whether you live in the country or the city, there are birds nearby, 835 species of birds spend at least part of the year in North America. You can go out looking for birds or attract them to your home. Birding is one of the fastest-growing outdoor activities all around the world. The Verb 'To Bird' would serve as an excellent jumping off point for a feature, which highlights the growing popularity of birding. More than 70 million Americans are feeding and watching backyard birds.

Success in bird watching is, to a large extent, based on location, either by venturing to locations or habitats where birds are plentiful, or by devising ways to attract birds to your own back yard. Birds seen at a distance may be enjoyable to watch, but the true excitement of the hobby is greatly enhanced when you can see the birds up very close. Some of the most useful tools that enhance your bird-watching experience are those that makes birds easier to see in striking detail.

There are numerous ways to participate in the hobby of birding. Aside from simply viewing birds in nature, avid enthusiasts engage in numerous other activities. Some of those may include: feeding birds, providing nesting sites or birdhouses, growing specialized plants and gardens to attract birds, traveling to nature sanctuaries and other bird-watching locales, keeping lists and notes on birds seen in the wild, making diagrams and sketches and spending hours trying to snap the perfect photograph of a favorite bird species. In order to enhance your beautiful experience of bird watching in winter one can learn bird's song. Birds' strongest senses are sight and hearing, and they have evolved ways to communicate and to recognize their own species by using signals based on those two senses. Because we are also creatures of sight and sound, we can tap right into all the fascinating distinctions of color and shape that birds embody, and just as naturally we can appreciate the sounds that are so important in their lives. As you begin to recognize bird songs, your own backyard will become a much more interesting place.

For me, it was like gaining supernatural vision, being able to see through the leaves and around buildings. I was amazed at how many birds were all around me and how much I had been missing out on. To broaden your bird-watching experience beyond your own backyard, consider incorporating some bird-rich locales into your next vacation. Serious bird enthusiasts actually plan trips around visiting bird sanctuaries, nature parks and other natural locations where they can view birds in large numbers, in diversity of species and in their native habitats. Traveling to a region of the country other than the one in which you live will allow you to see species you may have never seen before. Try to observe the birds so they don't know you are there. Move slowly, make as little noise as possible, and keep your distance. Going too close to a nest or repeatedly scaring a bird off its nest can cause the parents to abandon their nest leaving the eggs vulnerable to predators. Do not touch the eggs or young birds. Avoid trampling fragile natural areas to get a closer look. Stay on paths and trails. Don't litter. Now once you have started on the bird watching its important to build bird house, start the proper bird-feeding all year around, provide them with water either through bird bath or providing water specially in extreme weathers. In this way the birds would be attracted and would keep coming back to the backyard.

About the Author of this Article

Paul is Head of Training for a major UK Charitable Organisation with a wealth of experience in personal development, management development, e-learning and operational management. In addition he owns PK eBooks (http://www.pk-ebooks.co.uk) and has just published a series of Bird Watching eBooks which can be found at http://www.pk-ebooks.co.uk/birding_for_everyone.htm

 

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Clothes For Birdwatching in the Tropics

By Brian Ramsey

Each year many avid birdwatchers visit tropical countries to see the varied birds. At the same time there are thousands of individuals who visit for vacation and during their visit will engage in a day of birdwatching. Also each year thousands of persons begin the hobby of birdwatching. A common question of all those persons is, what to wear when birdwatching. This article will address what to wear when birdwatching in tropical Caribbean countries.

In tropical countries there is a wide variety of birding habitats and so the type of clothing will, to a certain extent, be influenced by the habitat into which the birder ventures. The beach is a prime attraction for visitors to many countries. Indeed it is said that tourism in the islands is based on sun, sea and sand. The seashore is also good birding habitat for specific species such as sandpipers, plovers, gulls, terns and turnstones. For birdwatching along the sea shore short pants and short sleeved tops are suitable attire .

Species such as Tanagers, Kingbirds, Flycatchers, Hawks, Woodcreepers and Warblers are found along forest edges and so roadside birding is often undertaken in areas where roads run through or along the forest. Short pants and short sleeved tops are also suitable for roadside birding.

If an individual is birdwatching on the beach or along the roadside then sandals can be used. It is advisable when roadside birding however to wear closed shoes as the birder is often attracted off the road edge and into the forest by glimpses of a bird. Very often in order to get a better view of an elusive bird, individuals tend to venture further and further into the forest as they seek that better observation. In forest environments closed shoes (sneakers, boots) are best to prevent your feet from being scratched by thorns or bruised by rocks. Shoes should be of sturdy construction and ankle height to help prevent twisting of ankles.The average hiking boot would therefore be suitable.

When birding in a forest environment it is advised that long pants be worn to provide protection against thorns and insects. Mangrove swamps are home to a wide variety of birds including Herons, Egrets,Iibises, Gallinules, Jacanas, Macaws, Cuckoos and Hawks. Mangrove swamps are therefore an attractive location for birdwatching. Long pants are also recommended for birding in mangroves because insects, particularly mosquitoes are abundant in mangroves.

Most birdwatching in tropical Caribbean countries is done during the early morning and evening hours when the sun is lower on the horizon and the rays are less intense. It is advisable however to carry a hat especially if an all day birdwatching adventure is planned as the sun rises quickly and all-day exposure to the sun can cause sunburn. In some instances the birding may be in forested areas where the overhang of branches and leaves will block much of the sunlight, however a hat can still be carried for protection. It is advisable to carry some type of rain gear such as a lightweight nylon jacket or poncho because although most days start sunny it is possible to have a rain shower during the day, usually around midday.

In choosing clothing one should remember that birds are sensitive to noise and therefore noisy material should be avoided. Fabrics that squeak or rustle will make noise as you move and may scare off the birds you are trying to see. These types of fabrics therefore should not be worn. Birds can distinguish colours and very bright artificial looking colours can also have the effect of scaring away the birds. Muted earth tones such as khaki, olive, brown, gray and green are good choices, as they allow you to blend with the environment.

Most individuals are aware that insect repellant should be used when bird watching in mangrove swamps. Insects, particularly mosquitoes are also found in forests and areas with tall grasses, even in the daytime. Insect repellant should therefore be used when going into these areas. In order to carry all the various items such as hat, poncho, field guide, insect repellant it is worthwhile to have a backpack.

Overall the clothing that you wear should be comfortable, of earth tones and clothes that you do not mind if they get a little dirty.


About the Author
Brian Ramsey is the author of the CD, Discovering the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago, which can be previewed at www.birdsoftt.com.

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Sighting_Night_Birds
By Richard Chapo 

If you think that the birding world really comes alive first thing in the morning, you may be surprised to know that many birds wake up after the sun has gone down. Some birds are real night owl's (and yes, they come out at night too), so get ready for some late night birding.

Before you head out to any night time spot, make sure that you know the area particularly well. It is not advisable to head to a trail that you have never set foot on, or walk into a public park that is not well lighted during the evening hours. However, if you feel secure enough to go wandering around your favorite birding spot at night, the many sights and sounds will astound you.

Before you head out, make sure that you are equipped with a large flashlight. In fact, a flashlight that is covered with a piece of red plastic wrap, or any piece of plastic cut to fit the lens of the light, will allow you to see night time birds with ease. While many birds will be scared away by a bright, yellow, flashlight beam, subdued red colors do not seem to bother them. This way, you will be able to see all that is around you, without actually scaring away the birds you have come to view.

If you happen to have a body of water near your home, you may want to head towards a river or a lake to see the best night time show. Often, creatures tend to hang out near the water's edge during the evening hours, so go ahead and walk around with your red light near the shore. Along with birds, you may also come across some very interesting nocturnal creatures, so keep your eyes open and your ears alert.

Once you have ventured out during the evening hours on a few occasions, the sounds that the world makes during the night time will become more familiar to you. While a coyote's yelp may startle you the first time around, you will soon become used to the sounds of the animals and birds that enjoy the night time world. While wandering around during the evening will allow you to see various creatures, the best way to spot a night time bird is to stay in one spot.

Try to remain still, and watch for those birds that swoop and dip right in front of you. Most birders never see feathers fly when the evening sky has encased the world, but for those that do, a night time birding trip is something quite unforgettable.

Rick Chapo writes for NomadJournals.com - makers of rugged and fine bird watching journals for life list.

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Binoculars_for_Birders
By Roy Smallwood 

With the beginning of Spring Migration it is time to consider investing in new binoculars. This is a proposition that can present itself in daunting ways. Careful consideration needs to be made whether a new birder or one who has spent some time in the field and acquired some expertise. The optics field is quite large and the number of products is considerable. How does one choose a binocular? Here are my suggestions.

First, determine just how and under what circumstances you will be using your new binoculars. If you are going to be walking then full size binoculars are certainly worth your consideration. However, if you are a backpacker or will be doing your birding on a bicycle, then you may wish to consider mid size or even compact binoculars. If you bird by sitting in a favorite spot, then larger binoculars could be your choice. Size matters when one considers the mode of birding. Size is dictated by the objective lens. Generally, if the objective lens is 50 mm then it is considered to be a large binocular; if it is 42 mm, it is full size; if it is 32 mm, it is a mid size. Finally, compacts have objective lenses 25 mm or less.

The size of the binocular will probably affect the way they feel in your hands. One should consider the ergonomics of one's choice. In other words, does the model you are examining have the right heft? Do you feel comfortable while holding the binoculars to your eyes?

Coupled with the size of the objective is the light gathering ability of the lens and the field of view. Of course, the larger lenses tend to gather more light. The more important consideration should be the field of view. Those new to the game should consider obtaining a pair of binoculars that posses a large field of view. Field of view is often stated in feet viewable at 1000 yards. For example, the Stokes Talon has one of the largest field of view for its size lens, 420 ft. at 1000 yards.

One of the most significant advances in optics is in water and fog proofing. This has been accomplished in two ways. The first of which is changing the prism design. Roof prism binoculars are so much easier to water and fog proof because of internal focusing. The older porro prism design has external focusing and, therefore, is not easily water or fog proofed. The other facet to proofing is the gas used to purge the binocular. Two gases are currently being used, nitrogen and argon.

Nitrogen and oxygen, if you remember, are the major components of air. Oxygen is the active ingredient while nitrogen is not. This basic chemistry is the reason for choosing nitrogen as the purging agent in many models. However, the real advancement is in the use of argon. The Argon Binocular is the newest class of binoculars. Argon is a member of the Noble Gases. Noble Gases were at one time called the Inert Gases because of their inability to react. In fact, they are so unreactive that it was not until the 20th Century that they were even discovered. The point is that argon is now being used because it does not attack the o-rings and seals in the binocular, thus allowing for excellent water and fog proofing and extending the life of your binocular.

One more word...in my opinion, one should be prepare to purchase a binocular worthy of your endeavors. Spend the money on a pair of binoculars that you can afford. Do not waste your hard earned cash on a pair of cheap ones. This advice is given in much the same vein as buying all the house you can afford. Let's face it; you are going to possess these binoculars for a long time. You want to be able to see the bird with clarity and ease. You want to become adept at identifying a bird correctly. So, you must be able to see it in all conditions, including some adverse situations. Your willingness to increase your budget will often provide you with a return in performance of your purchase.

These tips hopefully will lend themselves to your benefit. Enjoy your new binoculars and spend as much time as you can in the field.

About the Author

Roy Smallwood is the owner of Kingbirdfeeders.com. Roy began this enterprise after a 26 year career as a teacher of science. His love and enjoyment of the outdoors and birding in particular is the impetus for the company. He is an active member of the Central Texas Audubon Society. He encourages everyone to participate and enjoy birding whether in the backyard or in the field. Visit http://www.kingbirdfeeders.com and happy birding!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Roy_Smallwood

 

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