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