Bird Watching: Basics, Gears & the Best Binoculars for Birding
Bird Watching for Beginners and Kids
Bird watching is one of the most rewarding ways to experience the outdoors, and you don’t need much more than your eyes and ears to do it! Of course, having the best binoculars for birding handy will make the experience ten times better. Bird watching may seem daunting to a beginners and kids, but all it takes is a little patience and a curious attitude. Anyone can bird watch! Read on for a basic guide of bird watching for beginners, and find a detailed guide of how to choose the right binocular for you.
How Do You Do Bird Watching?
One of the best things to do when you first begin to bird watch is to identify some of the most common bird species in your region. Notice what they look like, what they sound like, and their habits. This not only introduces you to bird observation tactics, but it will also make it easier for you to notice when an unusual bird comes around.
Find a good watching spot. Seek out locations where birds have access to food and water. Try birding early in the morning or at dusk, birds are typically more active in these cooler temperatures. It’s a smart idea to wear clothes that blend in with your surroundings as to not scare away birds. Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, and treat nature with respect.
Be patient, and don’t get frustrated! Much of birding is a practice in patience. The less you move the more likely birds will become active around you. Don’t worry if you can’t identify a bird right away, and make sure to practice wherever you are. Taking quick mental notes of your surroundings will help sharpen your senses.
What’s a Bird Watcher Called?
Someone who partakes in bird watching is called a “birder.” People who study birds professionally are called ornithologists. The nickname “twitchers” can also be used to describe individuals who are very serious about bird watching, and often travel the world to check different species off of their lists.
Bird Watching Gear Checklist
The most important piece of gear for a beginner birder is an ID guide. These come in many different shapes and sizes, so do some research and figure out what’s best for you! There are also many mobile apps designed for bird watching, which can help you identify the bird not only by sight, but also by sound.
The second thing every bird watcher should own is a sturdy pair of binoculars. Because every pair of binoculars is different, it’s best to find what works best for you. Magnifying power and weight are the two different components to consider.
Last but not least, bring a weatherproof notepad to track your findings!
When it comes to birdwatching, the first thing an avid watcher will want to do is invest in a sturdy and reliable set of binoculars. Being able to see these birds up close will monumentally increase your enjoyment, and let you pick up on details of the birds that you may not have noticed before. As such, today we’ll be discussing the best three binoculars you can get, from the high price range to the lower price range. You can find all these binoculars on Amazon, and all of them boast at least a 4 star rating.
1. Swarovski EL 12X50 Binocular with FieldPro Package
First up is the Swarovski EL 12x50 binocular. The Swarovski comes in at a price of $2,869, but the price tag doesn’t come without the benefits. At only four and a half pounds, these binoculars are ideal for long watches without wearing out your arms. The included Swarovision allows for a nearly picture perfect flat image, giving you a stunning view without any warping from curvature of other lenses. Furthermore, the binoculars come with a Swaroclean coating on the outside lens, ensuring your binoculars won’t pick up grime or dirt and ruin your view. These could be a great option for a bird watcher who has been an avid watcher, and is looking to upgrade to the penultimate binocular. Pick up your pair, and get out in the field and get watching.
2. Carson 3D Series High Definition Waterproof Binoculars with 3D Glass
Next up on the list is the Carso 3D Series 10X50 Waterproof Binoculars. These binoculars cost $289.99. Aside from the incredible magnification on these, a fantastic feature of these binoculars is the waterproof body. If you’re birdwatching out in a small storm, you won’t need to worry about your binoculars getting ruined. On top of this, the ED Glass Lenses corrects any chromatic aberrations you may encounter, giving you a crisp image of the blue jay that you’ve been following. Weighing in at 1.6 pounds, these are a great lightweight option for a birdwatcher of any size. Buy these binoculars on today.
3. Bushnell 16X32 Powerview Compact Folding Roof Prism Binocular
The last pair of binoculars is the Bushnell 16X32 Poweriew Prism Binocular. At $39.99, these binoculars are a fantastic pair for a birdwatcher who is just starting to get into the sport. Thanks to the folding roof, these binoculars are compact and lightweight, allowing for easy storage in a pocket or in a bag. Along with this, the fully coated optics allows for make for fantastic light transmission, meaning you get a bright image every time. On top of this great deal, Bushnell tosses in a neck strap and carrying case, for walking through the woods and giving your arms a rest, as well as a lifetime warranty. With a 4 star average out of nearly 3,000 customer reviews, these are a reliable pair of binoculars that won’t break the bank. Get a pair of them.
These are three fantastic binoculars for any type of birdwatcher. Only thing left to do is get a pair and wait for a beautiful day to go birding. Confused about the magnification numbers? Don’t worry! Read on to learn more about the magnification numbers and how to decide which magnification is best for you. Happy birding!
What Is The Best Magnification For Birdwatching?
When buying a pair of binoculars for birdwatching, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the details of which pair to get. Which magnification? How do I know? Why one magnification over another? Not to worry! In this article, we’ll be covering what the magnification numbers mean, which magnification is best for birdwatching, and the pros and cons of each.
What Do These Magnification Numbers Mean?
When buying your pair of binoculars, the first specification you’ll want to figure out is your magnification. This will be displayed in the form of 10X50 or 8X42. Let’s break down what these numbers mean.
The first number is going to represent the magnification. Let’s take the case of the 10X50. The ten will mean that your binoculars will magnify the object you’re looking at by ten times. In other words, an object that is 100 feet away from you will make it look like it is 10 feet away from you. In the case of the 8X42, these binoculars would make an object 100 feet away look like it is about twelve and a half feet from you. With objects that become farther away, this magnification becomes more of a specification you need to consider. For example, if your object is 500 feet away, the 10x binoculars would make the object look 50 feet away, while the 8x binoculars would make the object look 62.5 feet away, a sizable difference in the world of birdwatching.
The second number represents the diameter of the objective lens in millimeters. The objective lens is the front facing lens. In the case of the 10X50 specification, the lens would have a diameter of 50 mm. For the 8X42, the lens diameter would be 42 millimeters. The diameter of the lens will primarily effect the amount of light coming into the binoculars. The more light, the brighter the image. Thus, a 50 mm lens would be brighter than the 42 millimeter lens.
Why Is One Magnification Better Than The Other?
The magnification you’ll choose will depend primarily on how you’re trying to use your binoculars. If you’re watching birds from a window in your home to some trees in a nearby forest, then a 8x magnification ought to do the trick. In the instance that you’d be out in a field watching birds that are upwards of a hundred feet away from you, then you’ll want to go with a 10x magnification. However, in most day to day instances, either a 8x or 10x magnification should work. It just depends on how you want to do your bird watching.
What Are The Pros and Cons of Each Magnification?
Both the 8x magnification and the 10x magnification will have their pros and cons. While it may be easy to jump to the conclusion of the 10x magnification and bigger is better, there are some downsides. The pros of the 10x magnification include
- Greater viewing distance
- Objects that are farther would be clearer than using 8x
A few cons of the 10x binoculars would be:
- Harder bird tracking: Tracking a bird by hand with a larger magnification will be more susceptible to handshaking and quick movements disrupting your watch.
- Smaller field of view: Since you’ll be more zoomed in, the width of what you can see will be shortened.
- Shallower depth of field
The 8x magnification will also have its pros and cons. The pros include:
- Easier bird tracking
- Larger field of view
However, these pros come with their drawbacks. With the 8x magnification, the trade offs are:
- Smaller viewing distance
- Less clarity with objects that are more distant
With any luck this guide will help you select the best set of binoculars for your viewing, and steered you in the right direction. Keep reading on to learn up on the best lightweight binocular, pocket binocular, and best brand of binocular!
What is the Best Binocular For Me?
In the final article in our series about binoculars, we’ll be going over the best type of binocular in three different categories: the best lightweight binocular, the best pocket binocular, and the best brand of binocular. After reading this, you’ll be able to pick out the best binocular for you, and be able to get right on your way birding.
What’s the Best Lightweight Binocular?
Out of the vast amount of options available to purchase, the best lightweight binocular we’re going to choose is the Celestron 71406 TrailSeeker 10x42 Binoculars. The price of these binoculars is $219.95 on Amazon, and comes with a wide array of benefits. First off, these binoculars only weigh 1.5 pounds, meaning you can use these all day by hand and never feel a strain that makes you look away at the perfect moment. Along with this, these binoculars are water proof and fog proof, allowing you to watch on any gray afternoon. The field of view is 341 feet, and twistable eye cups let you keep your glasses on. While the field of view is a bit narrower than it’s 8x42 cousin (6.5 degrees versus 8.1 degrees), the trifecta of magnification, weight, and price is a combo that can’t be beat.
What’s the Best Pocket Binocular?
The best pocket binocular that we found is the Celestron 71330 Nature DX 8X32 Binocular. The first two perks of this pair are the price and the dimensions. For $86.75, you’ll be getting a pair of binoculars that are 5 X 1.8 X 4.9 inches. With a weight of 1.25 pounds, these will be a breeze to fit into your pocket whether you’re out hiking and birding, taking a stroll, or simply walking from your car at your favorite forest preserve. Also at this size, 8x32 will provide a great image resolution for you while you’re birding. Same as the previous model, these binoculars accommodate eyeglasses and are waterproof and fully rubber, a great model for any beginner to moderate birding enthusiast.
What’s the Best Brand of Binocular?
Reading along this article, you might have already guessed our selection of the best brand of binocular. Our choice for the best brand of binocular is Celestron. The Celestron website boasts a vast array of sporting binoculars, ensuring that you’ll be able to find the perfect set of binoculars for your birding needs. Along with this, they offer binoculars starting under $50, providing you a reliable set of starting binoculars without breaking the bank. Looking for an upgrade? They’ll be able to get you the dream binoculars you want too. Celestron can also supply you with binoculars that come with BK7 lenses, an option that helps bring down the price on your binoculars if you’re buying on a budget. For the world of birding, Celestron will be the best brand for you to get great satisfaction out of your viewing for a fantastic price.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our series on binoculars! Get your set of binoculars with the help we’ve posted here and get birding! Missed the start of the series? Look back at our articles about the bet binoculars by price, and explaining the specifics of magnifications for newcomers. By the time you’re done, you know enough to get started enjoying these wonderful creatures; not only that, but you’ll be confident in choosing the best binoculars for birding (for you). Thanks for reading, and happy birding!
Who We Are
Eaglecon welcomes all nature enthusiasts and birders who enjoy watching the wonders nature has to offer. We welcome anyone who shares our love for the great outdoors, and we strive to educate and introduce people to incredible wonders of eagles, other birds of prey, and birds in general.
Education & Conservation
It is our mission to open up opportunities for people of all ages to experience the birds of our region; and through experience, it is our hope they will ultimately learn to appreciate the beauty of these creatures. To achieve this mission, we will promote education programs.
Educational programs will include:
- Written guides and education material
- Educational material in other forms of media including videos
- Guided Field Trips