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How to: start looking at birds

More and more people discover how fun it is to look at birds. You don't have to be an expert to go out into nature with your binoculars and practice recognizing different types of birds.

When you start looking at birds no hike will be the same. Suddenly you hear and see birds no matter where you look and you will start to appreciate nature even more. How about that robin building a nest in your backyard or that blackbird singing so beautifully. We will give you some practical tips to help you get started.

8 tips for birdwatchers who are just starting out

  1. First of all, start close to home. In your backyard or the park around the corner. You will find plenty of birds in either places. Think of titmice, blackbirds and wood pigeons that can be found almost anywhere. When you go to a park or forest to look for birds it is always a good idea to start with larger birds such as swans or herons. Focus on the common species first. As soon as you can recognise those you will see more and more!
  2. Are you going into nature to look at birds? Think of this: the greener the environment, the harder it is to discover birds. That is why you need to listen carefully to find them. Also take your binoculars to visit a bird hide. That is where you can properly look at birds without them noticing you.
  3. You don't immediately have to get expensive equipment. It is, however, practical if you own a good pair of binoculars or bird guide or app. This will make it easier to identify the birds you see. Flip through the bird guide on a regular basis to learn how to recognise specific species.
  4. Have you seen a bird? Then find a position where you can see the bird clearly with the naked eye and place your binoculars in your field of vision.
  5. Don't disturb the birds. When you get too close or make too much noise the bird will flee. When they flee birds loose precious energy they need to build a nest and look for food for their young.
  6. Keep the season in mind when you go out. Bird migration takes place in spring and autumn. The result is that you will find spectacular types of birds in unexpected places. Spring, of course, is the perfect season to look for birds because that is when they breed and make themselves known. In winter many birds from the far north look for warmer places to stay. Think of geese, swans and thrushes. In summer birds keep quiet to recover from the breeding season. That is when many bird enthusiasts start focusing on dragonflies and butterflies.
  7. Go out early in the morning. At sunrise birds are most active, a real spectacle!
  8. And the most important tip: do not use the term 'bird spotting'. You look at birds!