Welcome to Birds.com
Guide to Birds
Guide to Birds
Started over 25 years ago, this site was one of the first online communities and websites devoted exclusively to the care protection and understanding of birds. We designed this site to serve as an educational and community-focused resource for worldwide audiences and birding enthusiasts. Therefore, birders and others they can gain insights, exchange information, and share their experiences and expertise about one of nature’s most prolific and fascinating creatures.
Throughout the years, our editorial team and writing corps has been contributing original content while lending their knowledge to support this birding community as well. Together, they have created and maintained hundreds of pages of original content appearing on this website, including photos, articles, discussion boards, and general resources. This has been done to promote a better understanding of birds while encouraging others to join us in supporting the protection, safety, and proper care of the avian species.
The Allure of Birds
Thousands of species of birds live on the planet and can be found on every continent. The animals inhabit a wide range of terrains, as many birds migrate from one habitat to the next, as the seasons change. They usually fly to climates that are more conducive to gathering food and breeding.
One common characteristic among all birds is their use of nests for protection from predators, or as a form of shelter for raising their young. Usually, birds construct nests in areas that are perceived as safe and secure, such as trees, small crannies in buildings, or among tall and thick grasses.
The bird’s diet differs, depending on the species. For instance, hummingbirds survive on the nectar of flowers while herons eat fish. Birds may be carnivores (meat eaters), omnivores (plant and meat eaters), or may exist on a diet mainly consisting of plants (herbivores). They all balance out their diets with a balance of carbs, fats, proteins, and vitamins and minerals, much like humans do.
The only animals on the planet with feathers, birds delight us with their mating rituals. For example, male birds attract females with a display of color and the singing of mating songs. They may also dance or share food. Most birds that mate stay with each other throughout their lives. Each species is unique, as it has its own body movements and sounds for defense, alerts, and courting. Females lay their eggs in a nest and incubate them until the baby birds emerge from the eggs after 9 to 80 days.
Knowing about bird behaviors and patterns of communication can be as fun as it is educational. If you want to learn more about birds, you will find all you need to know, here, on Birds.com. Make it your source for everything about bird behavior and communications.
Bird watching: Why Birds Get Our Attention
Bird watching appeals to birders and others because the activity only requires some basic equipment. This equipment includes:
• A pair of binoculars
• A field guide to assist in identifying birds
• A notebook to record places and times of sightings
Another benefit is that you don not necessarily have to travel. You can set up a feeder station in your backyard and become a backyard birdwatcher.
The Origins of Bird Watching
A surge of interest in bird watching began around the 1880s and continued from there. The activity first gained interest in Great Britain, then the U.S., Scandinavia, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and older countries belonging to the British Commonwealth.
Bird watching has been further stimulated by certain books and publications. An example of one of these publications is the Field Guild to Birds by Richard Tory Peterson (1947) – a regional guide that features marks of North American birds found east of the Rockies. Similar regional guides have been used by birdwatcher to learn more about and identify birds.
How to Use Binoculars
As noted, one of the most important pieces of equipment for birdwatchers are binoculars. If you have not used binoculars before, you need to follow several steps for using them.
• First, you need to adjust the eye cups on the binoculars. They should be adjusted downward if you wear eyeglasses or upward, if not.
• Next, adjust the barrels to the width of your eyes. Find the distance where you can scan one area without any black areas in the line of vision.
• With the right eye closed, adjust the focus by turning the wheel in the center on the binoculars.
• Close your left eye and adjust the diopter correction wheel, which is usually close to the right lens of the binocular. This wheel will compensate for any differences in the vision of the left or right eye.
The primary optics of the binoculars are defined by magnification and the diameter of the lens. For example, magnification describes how much bigger a bird will appear when you view it through binoculars. A bigger number means more magnification. Therefore, a magnification of 10 means the bird looks 10 times bigger than its size. Most binoculars feature 8x or 10x magnification.
The lens diameter refers to the size of the lenses on the front of the binoculars. The larger the number, the larger the diameter of the lens. If the lenses are bigger, more light will stream through the binoculars. The extra light is helpful if you watch birds in the woods or during early morning hours.
Reduce the Magnification to See More Light
Keep in mind that if your magnification is higher, it reduces the binocular’s capability to gather light and narrows the field of view. A good rule of thumb to follow is to choose a factor of 5 or more between the lens diameter and magnification. Divide your lens diameter by the magnification. If the image looks slightly dark, it means the result is less than 5. If the resulting number is at least 5, you will see more illumination through the binoculars and on the image.
For example, the numbers usually expressed may be determined as follows:
• An 8×42 binoculars has an 8x magnification and 42mm lenses. If you divide 42 by 8, the answer is 5.25. Therefore, the images seen through the binoculars are bright and vivid.
When using binoculars during bird watching, you may have a short learning curve when using them. For example, if you look inside your binoculars and only see black in your field of vision, you need to move the barrels either farther away or closer to each other. If the bird you are viewing in the binoculars looks different in your left eye than the right or looks like it is in 2 different spots, your binoculars are probably not aligned properly.
Therefore, your lenses are magnifying two slightly varied fields of vision. Have the binoculars adjusted by a professional? If you get a headache when you use your binoculars, they are out of alignment, the lens has a scratch, or you are suffering from eye strain. To alleviate any strain on the eyes, adjust the diopter.
When classifying birds, you need to identify them by their size and shape, their colors and patterns, and bird call. The size and shape usually remain the same whenever you bird watch, so it a good way to begin the identification process.
The patterns and markings can vary greatly, depending on the season. For example, during the breeding season, birds are usually bright and easy to spot. This can change drastically in the non-breeding season when the same species may take on a dull or camouflaged appearance. While birds may have a large repertoire of calls, any singing is reserved for breeding – in the breeding area or when a bird is on its way there.
Bird watching allows you to appreciate nature more and gives you the opportunity to commune with the beauty of the great outdoors. If you want to know more about birds, this is a great way to begin.
More About Birds
Whether you are a member, occasional visitor, or new to this site, we hope that you enjoy what you read and visit us again soon as we continue to add fresh content and community features. Do you have any suggestions or comments to share? If so, we look forward to hearing from you. Reach out to us anytime with your questions or commentary.
We have assembled some fast facts and trivia about birds. This information was compiled from a variety of resource including Insurance Information Institute, Wikipedia, Statista, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Avibase, MSPCA-Angell, IOC World Bird List, Our World in Data.
Below is our profile containing facts and information to familiarize you about Birds.
- There are about 10,770 bird species and 20,005 subspecies (2020)
- Bird Classifications; 40 Orders, 250 Families, 223 Genera
- 1,027 species of birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918
- Indonesia has the most endemic bird species at 516; Australia is second with 358
- Birds are warm blooded vertebrates
- Approximately 158 species have become extinct
- Birds consume 98% of insect pests
- Trees and flowers are pollinated by birds
- Largest Bird: Ostrich
- Smallest Bird: Bee Hummingbird 1.6g (0.056 oz)
- Heaviest Flying Bird: Great Bustard 8-20 kg (18-44 pounds)
- Oldest Wild Bird: “Wisdom” a female Laysan Albatross b. 1951. (2020)
- Oldest Age Reached: 120 years, Cocky Bennett (Australia)
- 45 million people are avid and casual watch birds (U.S., 2016)
- 7 million households own a pet bird (U.S., 2019)
- 3 million pet birds (U.S., 2019)
- $300,000,000- yearly economic contribution to Rio Grande Valley, Texas
- $4,500 is the average cost of a bird watching tour in a foreign country
- Top threats to birds are habitat loss (data unavailable); 600,000,000 collision (building glass)
- Crows have the largest cerebral hemisphere relative to body size
- Owls can turn their heads almost 360 degrees, but they cannot move their eyes.
- First Domesticated Bird: Goose
- A blind bird hunts by smell: Kiwi
- Closest living relative to the Tyrannosaurus Rex: Chicken
- Only bird that can swim: Penguin
- A bird’s eye takes up to 50% of its head (a human, 5%)
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