birding – part one

27 May 2013 Comments Off on birding – part one

upland sandpiper (c) 2013A little over a year ago E decided to start birding
as a way to get outdoors more often.
We quickly joined in as a family –
surprised at how many species we knew and didn’t know,
surprised by the variety and their habits,
and by the opportunities migration brought to our hometown.
Of course with the lake nearby there are many species of waterfowl
that stop over,
though my favorites are the little warblers –
hopping around in the yellow-green of new leaves on hedges.
The boys have learned so much,
more adept at identifying songs and learning about habitats,
absorbing everything we read and share.

Because we’ve had a lot of people ask about our hobby
I thought I’d share what has been helpful for us.

There are the obvious accoutrements:

binoculars ::  these are our favorite. The high quality of the lenses is amazing – true clarity and easy focusing. While E has great eyesight, mine is a little wonky and we both prefer this pair. We can share them fairly easily, adjusting the focus quickly to catch whatever is flitting around. Of course, wanting to share is a different story…

bird books :: we started with the National Geographic guide, but have recently added the Sibley guide and Stokes book. The variety of styles have been great for helping us identify. On the go the iBird app is awesome. (It also goes on sale a lot, so don’t pay the full price for it!) The boys have a Golden Guide, and some “flip hand-phlets”, as they call them. They also enjoy playing Larkwire either on the computer or using the free app. Identifying birds by song is something we’re all still learning, but Larkwire is a fun way to do it.

We also use some online resources, such as allaboutbirds.org which is run by Cornell. Local Facebook birding pages, the Audubon society, and ebird.org are all great for finding out what birds have been spotted recently.

***More on our not-so-obvious accessories in a few days.***

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