For as long as I remember, birdwatching has been a source of solace, inspiration, adventure, and delight – in fact, this one hobby has a strange therapeutic effect and this is something that has always fascinated me.This is not a costly hobby, in fact, you don’t need to pay for it most of the time – as many can be seen or heard with no more than a bit of patience.
One of the great attractions of birdwatching lies in its simplicity. There are absolutely no set rules for birdwatching and what’s more wonderful is that very little equipment is required, even for the beginning birdwatcher.
Listed below are the top ten things which I feel every bird watcher should possess to get started with this wonderful hobby.
This is the primary tool in birdwatching. Having a good one will definitely enhance your experience as you will be able to spot the bird clearly and then identify it. Identifying birds is, after all, at the very core of birding.
A field guide helps you identify birds. When you spot a bird, note the most obvious physical traits – plumage colour, shape of the beak, colour of legs etc. Write them down and then consult the guide. I use the ‘Birds of the Indian Subcontinent’ by Richard Grimmett, Carol and Tim Inskipp. This book is a comprehensive guide to all the birds found in India and it’s very easy to identify as well. Nowadays, there are apps as well which you can download like Ebird.
When you're out birding, usually you're out in the sun. Wearing a hat keeps the sun from beating down on your head and helps prevent sunburn. It also helps cut the glare into your eyes, allowing you to see the bird better.
Comfort is very important while birding as it involves long hours of walk. So try to match your birding footwear to the terrain you will be in. Ankle-supporting hikers for woodland or rocky trails, rubber boots for marshy, muddy birding and lightweight tennis shoes or even sturdy sandals for casual birding. Along with comfort, it’s also important to have a pair that will work for all weather conditions like the FORCLAZ Women's Mountain Trekking Bootsthat I wear.
It’s important to stay hydrated throughout your birdwatching trek. So always carry a bottle of water with you. Try and use a reusable water bottle instead of single-use plastic ones as that increases litter.
Birdwatching involves long hours of waiting in the forests and it’s good to carry an insect repellent as mosquitoes are quite abundant. This is particularly helpful to those who are allergic to insect bites.
Camouflage clothes while on the trail are always a good idea because they help to blend in with the habitat which is a key to exploring the area. Choose subdued shades of grey, brown, and green and completely avoid bright colors, especially white which is a colour birds most often associated with danger. Wear long pants with multiple pockets as these protect against bees, mosquitos, ticks, and other common outdoor pests as well as provide storage.
I use the Solognac Women’s T-shirtsas these are super comfortable and made out of breathable fabric which makes it perfect for outdoor wear.
8. Notebook and Pen-
For beginners in birdwatching, it’s very useful to record your observations. A good way to learn bird identification is to examine a new bird closely, then write down a detailed description of the bird and later search the field guide, comparing the information in the guide to your description of the bird and thus identify the bird. So having a notebook and pen to record your observations on the field is very helpful.
Clicking a few photos of the birds can be beneficial for identifying them later. Being a wildlife photographer, I enjoy combining wildlife photography with birding as recording unique bird behaviour on camera is always beneficial.
A waist bag with lots of large pockets that aid in carrying all your necessary birding items is very useful on the field. I use the Solognac Wildlife Waistbag X-Acc7 Litre-which allows me to carry my camera batteries, storage cards, a pocket bird guide, pen, and notebook.
If you have these items then you are well-equipped to go out into the field and start spotting birds. Happy Birdwatching!!