Bird Watching: Know Your Binoculars!

Bird watching: the most fun you’ll ever have! You don’t need expensive clothes or equipment. You don’t need to travel to some lush jungle in a faraway land. Successful bird watching can start in your own backyard or local park.

One of the most important elements of bird watching aside from the birds themselves? Know your binoculars! Prior to your purchase, take a look at your binoculars (or “bins” as they are called in the field) and you’ll find sets of numbers: for example 8×30, 8×40, etc. The first number is the magnifying strength. So 8x means the image is magnified 8 times. The second number is the diameter of the lens in millimeters. The larger the diameter of the lens, the more light the bins let in.

If you wear glasses, make sure you choose binoculars that have fold-down eye-cups. And don’t discount the benefits of rubber-coated binoculars. They tend to be warmer in winter, easier to grip, and the rubber will help protect against damage.

Don’t be fooled by hi-tech wizardry. A decent pair of bins can run about 50 bucks. Not a bad investment for a hobby that will last a lifetime.

A don’t forget an inexpensive field guide for birds. After all, you’ll want to know what it is you’re looking at! The National Geographic Guide to Bird watching is a good resource to have.

Like any hobby, you can get a feel for successful bird watching techniques in your own hometown. Bird watching clubs and communities are only a Yellow Pages or Internet search away. Then, after you have learned a bit, you can consider dangling from a rope off a mountain top while spying the rare double-breasted wikki-woo in the Himalayas!