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For the Birds: Beginner’s Tips for Birding

There have been nearly 1,000 different species of birds sighted in the United States and Canada. Bird watching and spotting can be an exciting activity no matter where in Florida you are. However, if you are a beginning birdwatcher, you may not have the first clue as to how to get started. Follow these beginner birding tips to get your outing off to the right start.

Get a Field Guide

Before you go on your bird watching outing, be sure to pick up a field guide. Bird field guides will help you identify the various birds in your area. There are many options to get a field guide. You can purchase a book, such as the Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Birds, or you can even print a field guide online.

Bring the Binoculars

Once you have your field guide in hand, don’t forget to grab your binoculars. In order to correctly identify and study a bird, you will need to be able to see it clearly with quality binoculars. While some birds may come close enough to see with the naked eye, you will want to come prepared to see everything you can.

Be Familiar with the Birds in Your Area

Before going birding, take some time to discover which birds are commonly found in your area, what they look like, and what they might sound like. You can find a printable checklist specific to your area at www.wildbirds.com or most State and National Parks will have a checklist of birds in the area. In addition to knowing what birds are commonly found in your area, you should have a general idea of where each bird likes to be. Some may like to be by the lake while others will prefer the top of a tree.

Look for Birding Trips

You can get connected with other bird watchers in your area and take a trip together. If you are new to birding, there is a lot you can learn from watching and talking to more experienced bird watchers. Usually, these trips are free of charge and put on by a park ranger or a local Audubon member. You can expect the trips to start in the morning and last several hours or even the entire day. For even more help and advice, you can also hire a professional bird tour guide.

Go Where the Birds Are

In any habitat you choose to visit to go birding, you will want to go where the birds hang out. In Lovers Key State Park, that may mean the backwaters and estuaries where birds hunt and build their nests in and around the around the mangroves. Renting a kayak or canoe is a great way to get you there.

Dress for Success

When going birding, what you wear is more important than one may think. Be sure you wear neutral colored clothing. White or bright colors will not attract birds and can even scare them away.

Keep a Journal

You can help yourself remember your birding trip and the birds you see by keeping a birding journal. Bring a book to record what birds you saw, what they were doing, what they sounded like, the time of day, and where you found them. You may want to keep a running list of birds you have seen in the wild.

Have Fun

Above all, remember to have fun and enjoy yourself. Do not be too caught up in the pressure to see and identify birds. Being out in nature and being present where you are is just as important.

Lovers Key Adventures
8700 Estero Blvd,
Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931
239-765-7788

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