Into birdwatching? Join the millions of people around North America who outnumber football and hockey fans combined.
Admittedly, birders are a curious lot who don't make a big fuss about their obsession but quietly thrill at the thought of a rare bird sighting, or even an old familiar one.
If your a beginner, there are a few tips from the experts that may help you get up to speed and keep you busy catching site of any one of 9 million bird species in the US alone. Among other top five birdwatching tips for beginners, the first one is, obviously, getting to where the birds are.
You'll also need a good pair of binoculars. Prices on a good pair of binoculars range anywhere from $200 to several hundred dollars for best quality including top-of-the-line "binocular cameras" for instant 'trophy' images. Another must-have for birders is a good local field guide to take with you to identify bird types and species (in the meantime, check out this excellent guide to North American birds from Audobon online.)
Once you become familiar with where to spot them, and what to bring, you'll also need to know birding jargon. Although the Internet is filled with lists of birding lingo, here are a few choicer terms to get you started:
Big Day – a 24-hour birding marathon in which a birder tries to identify as many species as possible. Dip Out - Packing up to see a reported sighting of a rare bird but resulting in a big FAIL. Dude - A casual observer or novice birder. Grip Off - To tell another birder about a sighting that they missed. To brag. Life List - A complete list of species that a birder has ever spotted. Lifer - The first sighting of a bird species, and enthusiastically added to the Life List. Local Patch - A favorite bird sighting location, usually near a birder's home. Mega - A very rare bird. Nemesis Bird - The one bird that remains elusive, even after several attempts. Stringer - An evil birder who intentionally misleads other birders about a rare sighting. Tick - To add a new bird sighting to your list. Zootie - A bird that sometimes, but not often, migrates into your local patch.
Around the Web, go on a top-flight virtual tour with these major sites offering an extensive collection of info and pictures, bird song audio files and how-to's for birders worldwide featuring the latest updates, local events and festivals...
Birding.com - The home page is something akin to a busy bird's nest, but keep to the right hand menu for a fair and fine presentation covering more than a dozen related topics, plus a directory to sites offering bird photos, audio files of songs, and clip art.
Where do you want to go Birding Today?
- Go birding without ever leaving home. Check out photo galleries from all corners of the globe, together with links to rare bird
information and local events and festivals, along with information on tours/guides and accommodations.
Avibase - Check out this huge database
of birds of the world, containing nearly 1 million records about 10,000 species and 22,000 subspecies of birds, including distribution
information, taxonomy, synonyms and more.