You may have heard about birding from others or even seen people with birding stickers stopping to look at something other than the 'Big 5' at Kruger. So, are you ready to spread your wings and give this exciting hobby a try?
This short article is not aimed at people who have been birding for many years; rather, it's aimed at people who are curious and are considering starting to bird. We're going to answer some of the most common questions about birding that you might have been nervous to ask someone else.
Q: What exactly is birding?
A: Birding, also known as birdwatching, is like a thrilling treasure hunt in nature. It's the art of observing and identifying birds in their natural habitats. A few years ago, there was the Pokémon craze, where people, using their phones, would travel all over to find rare Pokémon. But instead of looking for some invisible cartoon characters, birders travel all over looking for birds. Birding is a hobby that connects you with the great outdoors and with other like-minded people.
Q: How do I get started with birding?
A: Getting started with birding is easy! All you need is a pair of binoculars, a field guidebook (or birding app), and a sense of adventure. When starting, you won't need an expensive pair of binoculars—start with a cheaper pair and eventually upgrade to a better-quality pair. If you can afford it, a camera will also add to your enjoyment of birding, but this is not essential. There are people who are very good birders who do not use cameras at all. Head out to your local park, nature reserve, or even your backyard, and let the birding begin!
Suggested binoculars for a new birder - https://www.thebirdinglife.com/product-page/vortex-triumph-hd-10x42-binoculars
If you need help choosing the best field guide - https://www.thebirdinglife.com/post/south-african-bird-field-guides-5-questions-to-help-you-get-the-perfect-fit
Q: What should I bring with me on a birding trip?
A: Besides your trusty binoculars and bird field guide, it's always a good idea to pack a few essentials for your birding expedition. Don't forget to bring water, snacks, sunscreen, a hat, and comfortable walking shoes. Oh, and a camera or smartphone to capture those unforgettable moments.
If you are unsure of what to pack, download our free birding packing list https://www.thebirdinglife.com/post/birders-packing-list
Q: How can I attract birds to my backyard?
A: To attract birds, set up bird feeders filled with seeds or suet. An even better way is to plant indigenous flowers and shrubs, which will attract not only birds but also things such as butterflies and insects. Planting an indigenous garden creates a healthy ecosystem that not only attracts birds but also helps look after the environment. And don't forget to provide fresh water for drinking and bathing—a birdbath or shallow dish works wonders!
Q: What's the best time of day for birding?
A: Early birds catch the worms, and early birders catch the birds! Mornings are prime time for birding, as birds are most active during the first few hours after sunrise. However, you can also spot birds throughout the day. A good tip is to head out before the sun comes up and enjoy a nice cup of flask coffee while enjoying the birding as the sun rises.
Q: How can I identify different bird species?
A: Identifying birds can be a bit tricky at first, but practice makes perfect! Pay attention to key features like size, shape, color, and markings. Listen to their calls and songs, and observe their behavior. Don't worry if you make mistakes when beginning—many birders still make mistakes even when they are experienced. It is a good idea to join a bird club when you start birding; this will connect you with more experienced birders who can assist you with learning to identify the birds you see.
To find a Bird Club near you - https://www.birdlife.org.za/support-us/join-us/join-a-bird-club/
Q: What's the rarest bird I can see while birding?
A: Ah, the million-rand question! The rarest bird you'll encounter depends on your location, but the best advice is to keep your eyes peeled and your binoculars ready—you never know when something special will turn up.
There you have it, a crash course in birding that will hopefully get you hooked on this exciting hobby. Grab your binoculars, lace up your hiking boots, and let's go birding! Happy birding, everyone!
If you would like any assistance in starting your birding journey, feel free to drop us an email, and we will help you as best we can at email@example.com