Birdwatching, or birding, refers to the observation of birds in their natural habitat. This is a hobby that an estimated three million people become involved with each year. It is a great way to become interested in nature and the natural environment around us.
Why You Should Try Birdwatching
Aside from it being a hobby which people find interesting, there are many other benefits to birdwatching that we may not think of.
1. It involves being outside
Many other hobbies consist of indoor activity, but birding encourages you to go outside and enjoy the fresh air. Any activity that gets you outside is great for your physical and mental health.
The ever-growing community of birdwatchers allow you to meet new people and gives you potential to meet new friends. You can swap bird sighting stories, compare bird lists and talk about your common interests. For extroverts especially, socialisation directs energy outwards rather than in towards oneself.
3. A connection with nature
It has been reported that spending time in nature can lower stress and reduce some feelings of depression and anxiety. It can clear your mind and remind you of the present. It keeps us connected to other living creatures in nature.
4. All year round hobby
Some hobbies can only be completed at certain times around the year. Considering birds are an all year round creature, this hobby can be enjoyed all year round. This is also an exciting contribution to your bird lists and different birds will migrate at specific times.
5. Protecting habitats
Those who birdwatch should protect and ensure the safety of birds. Birdwatchers avoid destroying and damaging habitats, which makes birdwatching a great way to preserve natural habitats.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds have released a code that suggests the following:
Avoid disturbing birds and their habitats
Disturbing birds can be more damaging than you think. It can stop birds from wanting to leave/go to their nest, making their young very vulnerable. It is illegal to intentionally or recklessly disturb some species in Britain. If a bird flies away then you are too close to their habitat. When looking for birds, stay in spaces where you are not disturbing the birds habitat.
Become an Ambassador
This is a great way to increase socialisation within the birdwatching community. Be positive with information and questions from other birdwatchers and those who are interested in the hobby.
Respect the Countryside
When you visit somewhere to birdwatch, ensure that you are respectful to the landowners and the local residents. Do not enter private land unless the owners have given you permission to do so.
For people who birdwatch, a complete list has been made to keep track of everything you have detected and identified. This can come in the form of birding apps, books, and websites. If you are a beginner at birdwatching, your lists may not be as detailed as those who have a lot of experience in it.
Birdwatching lists are also great to compare with other birdwatchers. Complete lists are also a great way to share bird information as they indicate the time, places, and dates that other birds have been seen.
Finding a Rare Bird
It is important to note what happens if you spot a rare bird. You need to acknowledge what spreading the news could do. If the bird has been spotted on a particular plot of land, it increases the chance of damage to the land and the habitat if many people are visiting. RSPB have stated that rare breeding birds are at a higher risk of egg-collectors. If you have found a bird that you find to be considerably rare, contacting the RSPB can protect rare breeding birds. If the bird has been spotted on private land, telling the landowner can also ensure that they do not accidentally damage its habitat.
You do not necessarily need birdwatching equipment, but some people use the following:
- Birdwatching List
It is possible to birdwatch without the equipment, but it can be used to enhance the birdwatching process. Taking a camera enables you to document your experience and findings. However, it could be more beneficial to experience nature alone.