How to Become a Birder
The Nature Conservancy has some useful tips on how to become a birder, which can also be transferred to how to become a wildlife watcher.
Becoming a birder all starts with getting a pair of binoculars. When birdwatching, a little brown bird flying into a tree can become a little yellow bird through the binoculars. Timothy Boucher and Ellen Paul, who wrote the Nature Conservancy article, advise paying attention to how the binoculars feel in your hands, since they have to fit properly to be comfortable over your hours of birdwatching or wildlife watching.
Learn about birds by buying a guide, and learn to start identifying birds by their largest features such as colors, shape and size. Your goal is not to memorize the guide but to learn how to use it as a birder in the field.
Find bird walks through your local Audubon chapter or nature center. In Vancouver, VanDusen Garden and Nature Vancouver have bird walks, and other botanical gardens and nature societies likely do as well. Going with an expert at first is a great way to start learning how to use the field guide and how to identify birds. Also, experts are filled with interesting stories and facts about birds.
Use the internet for finding great local birdwatching locations. Take your time, walk slowly, and keep your eyes and ears open for bird movements and sounds. There are a lot of birds around that you will miss if you power walk your way through an area.
I love how Timothy and Ellen end their article. “That’s it! Are you still at your computer? Why? Grab your ‘nocs and go!”