Birdwatching. What is it and why everyone should try it
Tips | 29.07.2020
Birdwatching is an unusual hobby that is rapidly gaining popularity around the world. First of all, birdwatching is the art of enjoying the natural beauty of wildlife. We'll tell you what is interesting about birdwatching and how to get the most out of this process.
How it all began
Birdwatching is an amateur study and observation of birds. An aesthetic interest in birds, as opposed to hunting, began to appear at the end of the 18thcentury in the works of English ornithologists Gilbert White, George Montague and a number of others. By the beginning of the Victorian era, the number of birdwatchers increased noteworthily. During this time, interest mainly took the form of collecting: they collected eggs and stuffed animals. Rare specimens brought from the British colonies were especially appreciated.

With the development of optics and photography in the early 20thcentury, the hobby began to acquire the modern form. For the first time the term "birdwatching" appeared in the title of a book by British ornithologist Edmund Selous in 1901. At the same time, illustrated bird guides began to appear in the United States. The most popular in those years was the book "Bird Neighbors" by ornithologist Neltje Blanchan, published in 1897 and sold in the edition of 250 thousand copies.
In the second half of the 20thcentury, birdwatching went beyond the borders of the United States and Great Britain. Birdwatching associations and clubs appear in Europe, Asia and Africa.

Today the popularity of birdwatching is growing every year. A study by the Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that 45 million people in the United States alone observe birds to varying degrees. The hobby is beginning to get into popular culture as well. In 2011, the comedy "Big Year" was released, which tells about the competition of birdwatchers.
Why should everyone try birdwatching?
Birdwatching is one of the best ways to connect humans with wildlife
Birds interact a lot with the ecosystem they belong: other animals and plants. By observing birds, a person has the opportunity to better understand the interactions of all components of the surrounding ecosystem.
Birdwatching gives reasons to travel more
If you are interested in birdwatching, you will probably start to leave the house more and visit new places more often. The beauty of it is that you don't have to go to another continent to find new species of birds: sometimes you just need to make it out to the park, which is a couple of kilometers away.
Birdwatching is good for your health
Birdwatching can help improve health, both physical and emotional. Birdwatching is always done outdoors, which means you will be constantly moving in the open air. Sometimes, to see some birds, you have to go to the mountains and combine birdwatching with hiking. In addition, birdwatching is good for brain. By memorizing bird species and their characteristics, you develop memory and observation skills. Finally, birdwatching is a great way to deal with stress, as evidenced by research. In 2017, scientists from the University of Exeter found a statistically significant relationship between the number of birds observed and stress levels.
Birdwatching helps you find new friends
Birdwatching is a hobby with an active community around the world. There are enough forums on the Internet where amateur bird watchers share their impressions of birds and travels. There you can always ask for advice or team up with other participants for birdwatching.
Now that we understand why birdwatching is great, here are some tips for beginners.
1. Try to stool birds
There are times that there are no birds around you at the moment. Then you should try to go for a trick and call them yourself with the help of sounds. To do this, clench your teeth and, without closing your lips, pronounce the sound "write" in a low voice. Soon, you will probably see several birds in front of you, attracted by this sound.
2. Buy good binoculars
It is often impossible to observe birds with the naked eye, therefore binoculars are an indispensable accessory in birdwatching. When choosing binoculars, pay attention to the following characteristics:
• Magnification range
• Sight line
• Waterproofing
• Fogproofing
• Ergonomics

If you are new to birdwatching and are not ready to buy your own binoculars, borrow the device from friends or other birdwatchers.
3. Use special guides
Don't forget the educational function of birdwatching. During birdwatching, you will learn to distinguish birds by their behavior, voice and appearance. To make the process easier and more enjoyable, there are special ornithologic manuals and guides. You can get started with the popular online eBird, a Cornell University Ornithological Laboratory project. With eBird, you can learn about birds, share your sightings, and create sighting checklists. The project also has an online application.
4. Plan your birdwatching time
Birds, like humans, have periods when they are more active. Most are active at dawn – at this time the chances of seeing and hearing birds are much greater. Another important factor is the weather. Try not to plan observation in strong winds – the birds hide during them. Hot days should be avoided for the same reason.
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