Month: July 2016

Bird Watching Gear: The 5 Essential Items

Bird watching is a great hobby, an enthralling holiday activity, and a career to others. The thrill of watching the red-throated divers plunge into the water or puffins breeding on cliffs can be magnificent. For some people, the thrill of citing a rare species of eagle or ducks is a lifetime accomplishment. To accomplish these important activities, you need the right bird watching gear. The following are five most essentials that every bird watcher should have.

A field guide

This is a very critical tool because it provides the watcher with information on appearance, habitat ranges, and behavior of various birds. Guides could be specific to species or regions depending on the target of authors. It is advisable to look for a guide that can be carried conveniently and read easily.

Take a step further to select the guides with comprehensive checklists of various profiled species. Make a comprehensive background review of the area to visit and then pick a guide with many related features.

Hiking Boots & Waders

While it is still possible to see birds in urban areas, serious birders have irresistible urge to venture into the wild to see rare species, learn about them, and document their presence. To enjoy this, a pair of properly fitting boots is very critical to help protect your legs and make it possible to reach every part of the jungle.

Boots also provide better traction so that you can walk even in areas with loose soil of rocks to see especially birds like puffins that breed in cliffs. If you are watching birds in wetlands, a pair of waterproof boots will come in handy.

Waders are also a requirement if you want to get up close and personal with waterfowl. Getting cold and wet is nobody’s idea of fun, so in order to find the best waterfowl waders for you ensure you find ones that fit well and are suitable to the water temperature depending on the season.


A camera is a very crucial tool that enables the user to catch every bird on camera. The images help to compare images, follow the backgrounds, and even reproduce them for publication. Look for a camera with great zoom so that you can capture birds even at a distance without getting close and disturbing them.

For example, you can follow fly patterns of an eagle even from a very long distance. The ideal camera should come with different settings so that a birder can select the varying light level for clearer images whether it is a foggy morning or a very bright afternoon.

Field bag

A field bag is an important essential for every birder. It helps to carry all other tools and accessories safely. For example, you need to have your camera, binoculars, mobile phone, field guides, bottles of water, and sunglasses among others.

The bag should, therefore, be water and dust proof to keep all the items as safe as possible even when watching birds on a rainy day. It should also have a different pocket with straps and cushioning for extra safety. Do not forget to check on broad straps to carry easily on the back.

Birding Journal

Every moment you see a bird, the first thing is getting the characteristics such as color, size, and behavior. Then, the habitat is carefully identified and compared with what is in the guide.

To follow on these details, it is prudent to have a birding journal that is easy to use. It should have columns to out down type of bird, colors schemes, GPS column. It is advisable to pick journals that are hand sized or foldable for easy access, storage in filed bags, and use.

News & Events

Best Bird Watching Smartphone App

The commonest image that comes to the mind of a birder is the juggling of a field guide, binoculars, camera, and notebook. Well, this might not be true anymore because birding has taken a whole new outlook with top apps.

The birding technology for smartphone and tablets allows you to flip the guide, access notebook, maps, and even birds with just a click. While it is prudent to carry all hard copies of the field guide and notebook among others, these apps are meant to make your work easier and professional. The following are the best apps you should consider when going birding.

Peterson Birds

This app is very common for birders because it is compatible with different smartphones including iPhones and iPod touch. The app allows the user to select the plan of choice depending on his/her budget.

The full version goes for $14.99 and provides all information about 820 birds with color demonstrations, nest/egg images, searches by region and name, checklists, and rage maps among others.

It also has additional species info for easier comparison. However, other plans, the pocket edition, and free versions have some limitations on the features to apply. For example, the free version has only 160 birds, and the user is likely to miss on most of them.

The National Geographic Birds

This is one of the most comprehensive apps with vast info on over 3,000 birds. The search feature allows the user to search for birds of choice by name, size, images, behavior, and other characteristics. Besides, it has videos and audios so that you can identify birds using their calls and songs.

Range maps are designed to help users follow specific birds throughout the jungle. If you are novice and want to become a prop in birding, the app has free quizzes that test your knowledge on birds.

In addition, the app is also very helpful because it covers other things such as recommended gear lingo, community guidelines, and etiquette among others.

Sibley e-Guide to Birds

The Sibley e-Guide to birds is a comprehensive app that provides info on over 810 species. It presents the user with 6,600 illustrations that show the birds in flight at various angles, nesting imagers, and perched photos. Besides, every image comes with detailed info such as species and sub species, measurements, and regional variations.

The app has 2,300 audio records of calls and songs so that you do not have to wait and see a bird to identify it, but also use the sounds they make. This is a critical feature that allows you to look for birds especially in forested areas.

If you want to test the app, download the free version that has 20 species to test.

The Sibley eGuide to Birds App

Audubon Field Guide to Birds

This app brings a lot of information on more than 770 species that detail their behavior, nesting times, the number of eggs, family details, species, and habitats among others. It has over 3,000 colored images to identify birds, compare them in various flight positions, and perching. You can go for their free trial to test the app on your smartphone and its effectiveness for your mission.


Best Bird Watching Books

A good bird watcher is sharp on every detail that can help identify one bird from the other. In many cases, different species have very slight variations that the birder must take cognizance. To gather all this information and always stay ahead of others when birding, make sure to keep reading through birding books. The following are the best bird watching books that every birder must have.

The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior:

This book by A. Sibley, C. Elphoick, and b. Dunning is a carefully written and edited book to help birders understand not just the animals they are searching, but their habitats too. The book comes with different images of birds, habitats, and information on their species and other details. Whether you are a novice or experienced birder, this is one great companion you should never keep away.

Get the book here


This book by Frank Gill is an ideal publication for people who want to look at birding from a different perspective or novices. It provides deep insights into birding so that users can learn from various habitats to behaviors of various birds. With this copy in your library, it will be just a matter of time before you can tell every bird in your backyard and the jungles around you.


The Collins Bird Guide:

This guide by L. Svensson, K. Mullarney, and D. Zetterstrom has been referred by many users as a must have for every birder who wants to identify all the birds he/she has ever heard of. The book is exploratory and covers over 700 species with detailed information for easier identification. Notably, it is designed as a guide so that users can carry and use it anywhere in the field to identify birds and make their excursions more successful.

Bird Guide

A Dictionary of Scientific Birds names:

This dictionary by James A. Jobling is, perhaps, one of the most comprehensive books on birds that you can ever get. It provides information on basic details about birds and answers a lot of questions that many people may have about birds. While most books cover only a specific area or family, this book has all birds and should be used as a counter-checker for others. However, it lacks inherent details about each bird, and new users might find it more difficult unless using it with other guides or books.

However, it lacks inherent details about each bird, and new users might find it more difficult unless using it with other guides or books.

Book Here

Feather Quest:

This book was written by Pette Dunne as a diary of a long time birds watching excursion so that it presents great insights on the past, present, and future of birds. Unlike other books that take a singular approach such as bird characteristics and behaviors, the author takes insightful flashbacks to explain the current situation of various birds.

It is a masterpiece for learners and those who are new to birding so that they can understand why a specific bird is rare or has gone extinct altogether.

With the book, it is also easier to envisage how the future of birds will look like. The book does not only inform, but it creates an inherent urge for readers to get involved in protecting birds.

Book Here

News & Events

15 Birds on the Endangered Species List

An endangered species is any organism classified by IUCN (The International Union for Conservation of Nature) at a risk of becoming extinct. Concerns have been raised over the rising number of species that keep making into the Red Data Book and risking becoming extinct.

Major reasons for birds becoming extinct

Encroachment of their living areas: This is one of the top reasons driving species to extinction. As the human population continues to grow, demand for more land to build cities and cultivate more food is driving the birds away from their habitats.

Pollution: With every country striving to grow industries and elevate its economy, one outcome is increased level of pollution. These pollutants not only poison the birds but destroy their habitats completely. For example, the pollutants that are released into important riparian areas used for nesting compromises the birds’ ability to reproduce.

Global warming: While the problem of global warming continues to elicit heated debate at all levels, the impacts are felt more by animals that occupy fragile ecosystems such as birds. Rising temperatures are altering seasons and making the natural habitats intolerable. In return, the birds find it difficult to mate or even nest to continue their generations.

Hunting: While there are many books, legislations, and even policies to help identify the endangered birds and other animals, hunting is still a major threat. In some communities that attach a lot of significance to clothes made from birds’ feathers, there is an insatiable urge to kill the birds and get their products.

Poor policies and resources sharing: While watching a bird fly or hunt in the natural forest is an enthralling experience, well, it might not be to others. Many people especially in developing countries live next to the wilderness and forests that harbor the birds and other animals. However, they remain impoverished so much because they do not get revenue from touristic activities in such places. Because of this, they do not see the value of any effort to conserve such birds and keep destroying their habitats for other products.

Land use changes: Efforts to produce more food in many countries has resulted in intensive use of pesticides and other chemicals. The chemicals go up into the food chain and start poisoning the birds through bio-accumulation and bio-magnification. This brings about extensive deaths, diseases, and inability to breed.

  • 15 Birds on the Endangered Species List
  •  Forest Owlet
  •  Chimney Swift
  • Sociable Lapwing
  • Martial Eagle
  • White-bellied Heron
  • Chatham Patrel
  •  Himalayan Quail
  •  Pink-headed Duck
  •  Baer’s Pochard
  •  Mauritius Fody
  • Jerdon’s Courser
  •  Spoon-billed Sandpiper
  •  Slender-billed Vulture
  • Leah’s Macaw
  •  Sidamo Lark

While these are only 15 species on the Red Data Book of IUCN, the numbers are more. Notably, because birds move from one habitat to another either in search of food, shelter, mates, or breeding, effective protection is only possible if all stakeholders are involved. From The US, Britain, Asia, and Africa among other countries, the situation can only be captured by taking a common approach towards conserving birds. More importantly, every person including those in different fields of specialization and living in towns away from the jungle should have identify
with birds at all times. Here


10 Awesome Bird Watching Trips

When you plan for a bird watching excursion, the target is watching as many birds as possible and learning about their behavior. For others out on holiday, the target is getting the thrill of birds in their natural habitats and enjoying the picturesque sceneries and taking lifetime photos.

Well, you can only realize these goals if by knowing where to go and exploring the best trips. Here are top 10 awesome bird watching trips that will make your holiday more enthralling and unforgettable.

(1) The Caerlaverock VWT Center, Galloway, and Dumfries

Along Scottish boarder, visitors and bird watchers get the thrill of arriving geese, ducks and swans during the beginning of autumn. The birds fly from as far as Spitsbergen and Iceland where the temperatures keep falling and freezing everything.

A trip to The Caerlaverock VWT Center, Galloway and Dumfries will give a chance to see these birds and others interact in the complex ecosystem. Other birds to see here include the barnacle geese and egrets.

(2) A trip to Crane Creek State Park in Ottawa.

A trio to the Crane Creek State Park is a perfect opportunity to explore and be part of the wild. Migrating waterfowls, shoebirds, warblers, and bald eagles flock the marshland and share it with other animals in a unique show of cooperation.

A trip to Crane Creek also gives visitors a chance to enjoy other wildlife including reptiles, mammals, and amphibians.

(3) South Eastern Arizona

A trip to South Eastern Arizona brings visitors to over 24 special birding spots that have made every visitor call the pace a birder’s world. Move through from Saguaro National Park, Madera Canyon, and Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Reserve allows you to enjoy the diverse birds that frequent the area from season to season. Birders are sure to see the gray hawk, humming birds, painted redstart, and Mexican jay.

(4) Exe estuary in Devon

A cruise to Exe Estuary is a great opportunity see about 25,000 birds that flock to feed and breed. The estuarine is among the best places in The UK to see as many birds as possible in one area. The estuary is a success conservation story that has combined conservation, lifestyle, and education in one package. Whether you are a scholar, tourist, or want to simply enjoy a weekend with a difference, a trip to the Exe Estuary will never disappoint.

(5) The Point Pelee National Park in Ontario

A trip to the point Pelee National Park in Ontario is an opportunity to explore the 6-mile nature rich triangle heading to Lake Erie. The area has a wetland of international importance because of the diverse ecosystems ranging from deciduous forests, cedar savannah, and sandy beaches that attract a lot of birds in all seasons. Birders are sure of recording up to 200 different birds every day including Orioles, warblers, and various songbirds.

(6) The Everglades National Park in Florida

While Everglades has no doubt suffered great pressure from the fast developing cities such as Miami, it remains a paradise for many endemic and migratory birds. Whether you live in the neighboring cities or want to visit from abroad, a trip to Everglades will give you

Whether you live in the neighboring cities or want to visit from abroad, a trip to Everglades will give you spectacular view of over 400 species of birds including white-crowned pigeons, smooth-billed Anis, and Snail-kites. Other birds you can anticipate to see include the limpkin, mangrove cuckoo and greater flamingo.

(7) Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico

A trip to this hot desert region is a perfect opportunity to learn about birds that inhabit dry lands. The Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is like an oasis in the middle of the dry land because of its abundance of water from the neighboring Magdalena and Chupadera Mountains. Take an early morning drive from San Antonio and experience the magnificent sun rising from the horizon as you watch birds such as lesser s snow goose,

Take an early morning drive from San Antonio and experience the magnificent sun rising from the horizon as you watch birds such as lesser s snow goose, gambel’s quail, Ross Goose, and Sandhill Crane.

(8) Point Reyes National Seashore in California

For people who target to combine birding with luxury, a trip to Point Reyes National Seashore will be a thriller in all aspects. The protected nature reserve allows you to explore the rich biodiversity at the coastline and enjoy sometime sunbathing. Visit the Seashore to see birds such as horned puffins, blue water warblers, wood peckers, and other shorebirds.

Visit the Seashore to see birds such as horned puffins, blue water warblers, wood peckers, and other shorebirds.

(9) Isles of Sicily, Cornwall

A trip to Sicily islands has become a must visit for birders who want to see the Twitchers eagles. A trip to the island also allows visitors to see seabirds and springs migrants. Make sure to carry your camera and capture every bird because the trip will be really enthralling.

(10) Loch Garten, Scottish Highlands

Want to enjoy the sites of birds demonstrating their fishing skills? Take a trip to the Loch Garten in Scotland Highlands. All birds from the surrounding Abernethy forest come out to enjoy the cool breeze at Loch Garten. It is particularly magnificent to watch the capercaillie use its strong eyesight and skills to fish.

Birder’s World readers’ 15 favorite birding destinations in the U.S. and Canada